Why do truck drivers deal with serious fatigue?

It's fairly clear, every time you pass a semitruck on the highway, that getting into an accident with one of these massive vehicles puts you at a serious disadvantage. Weight is incredibly important in a crash, and a semi may weigh up to 80,000 pounds. When a driver drifts over the center line or merges into your car, which probably weighs far closer to 3,000 or 4,000 pounds, you could suffer from some very serious injuries.

Truck accidents happen for all sorts of reasons, from drunk driving to distracted driving. These are professional drivers, but they make a lot of the same mistakes as other drivers on the roads. One potential issue that may hit truck drivers a bit harder than most, though, is fatigue.

Workplace fatigue

You have to remember that, for a trucker, the cab of that truck is their workplace. If you have ever felt bored and exhausted sitting at your desk at work, you know how truckers feel. They too grow complacent and bored with the repetitive nature of the job.

There's also something to be said for the way that the open road can lull you to sleep. At a desk job, you can get up and walk around, talk to a coworker, make a phone call or browse social media on your phone. You can break up that monotony. A truck driver doesn't have that luxury. They just have mile after mile of pavement going by at exactly the same speed. They get paid by the mile, and they can't afford to stop for a break just because they're getting bored.

Other reasons for fatigue

On top of boredom and monotony, truck drivers also face high risks for fatigue because:

  • They may have unhealthy habits bred from a life on the road. They may not eat healthy meals, for instance, which can sap their energy.
  • They may stay up late, especially if they're trying to stay in touch with their loved ones. They know they need to get to sleep for that early start in the morning, but they also miss their families and they want to spend time on the phone or the computer, talking to them.
  • They may end up working some very long hours, which often run through the night. Drivers do have rules to follow regarding driving time, but it can still be an intense occupation.
  • Some studies have found that drivers with sleep apnea may be more prone to drowsy driving than those without. They just don't sleep as well at night in what is already a non-ideal sleeping situation.

This just scratches the surface. The reality is that drivers face a lot of challenges and may fall asleep behind the wheel. If you get injured in an accident, be sure you know what rights you have.

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