Although Thanksgiving and Christmas are wonderful and peaceful times for many, the holidays are a much busier times for others. This pertains especially to those in commercial businesses and in package delivery services. Workers in retail, UPS, FedEx, and the United States Postal Service experience greater pressure and more hours. This is especially true for truck drivers. Sawaya Law sees an increase of accidents during November and December because of unpredictable weather, tired drivers, and less-than-cautious car drivers. Below is some information about truck accidents during the holidays and how both truck drivers and other drivers can help to prevent these accidents.
Truck drivers know that when the weather starts to get bad they should drive with extra care. Slower speeds should be used, and chains should be placed on the tires to provide better traction on snow and ice. In addition, weight distribution should be carefully thought out when loading trucks with trailers. Drivers of trucks should put a large distance between themselves and the cars in front of them.
However, despite all of these precautions, truck accidents can still come in the form of rear-ends, broadsides, head on collisions, and rollovers.
Because drivers are under more pressure during the holidays and have more hours, one of the most common causes of accidents during this time is driver fatigue. When a driver is tired, his or her ability to make decisions is hindered. Sometimes a driver can even fall asleep at the wheel and swerve into the other lane. Drivers should do all they can to avoid over fatigue. If you are a truck driver, here are some ways to stay awake and alert at the wheel:
Stay Away from Caffeine– Although this seems counterintuitive to Americans, dependence on caffeine can negatively affect your awareness and ability to stay awake. Instead of drinking caffeine when you feel tired, ingest fruit or some other sort of energizing food. Natural energy will work with your body to keep you awake instead of happening to your body.
Have a Consistent Sleep Schedule– Even if you spend a large portion of your day working, try to get to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. This consistency will send a firmer message to your body that working hours are the time to be awake. If you have to, say no to hours or a schedule that will put your life or others’ lives in danger.
Make Frequent Stops– Getting out of the car, walking around, and having a snack can boost your energy and help you get out of the driving slump that you may experience.
Avoid Sugary, Fatty, Unhealthy Foods– These types of foods can actually work against your body making you feel drained and sick. It is tempting to eat these foods while on the road. Healthy foods can be more difficult to eat when you are traveling, so find a few healthy favorites that are easy to pack and stick to those.
If you are a regular driver on the roads during Thanksgiving or Christmas, it is a time to be more aware of your surroundings. There will likely be more traffic and worse weather. Follow these precautions to help diminish the occurrences of truck accidents this season.
Be Aware of Large Trucks– Watch out for trucks as you drive. When you are near them, make a mental note to drive with more caution.
Stay Far Behind Them– In addition to being dangerous in and of itself, tailgating puts you in a truck’s blind spot. If the person in the truck cannot see you, they are more likely to get in an accident with you.
Drive Slower– This especially pertains to snowy days. If there is any sort of bad weather, put your foot on the brakes. Avoiding an accident is worth being late for.
Pass Carefully– Use extra caution when passing a truck. If there is bad weather, try not to pass them on a skinny part of the road or on a bridge. Wait until there is minimal traffic around you and until there is more space for both of you to drive in. This way, you can both maneuver as needed.
Be Courteous– Courteous driving is an excellent way in general to avoid accidents, but this is especially true when sharing the road with a truck.
Holidays are a more risky time for truck accidents. Because these accidents can be horrific for both parties, make sure to be extra careful when driving this Thanksgiving and Christmas.