Five Tips to Staying Alert on the Road on that Next Long Haul
Nothing replaces sleep not even coffee. But even with full rest, long hauls can strain your alertness to a point where you need little pick-me-ups. Instead of relying on coffee and energy drinks, try these proven methods of sustainable energy:
Set Worries Aside
Stress and anxiety tend to wear you out. Your shoulder muscles tense up, you expend mental energy worrying about things, and eventually you get tired.
Think of it like rationing out food truckers need to ration out their energy over the course of a long drive.
Silence, hard rock, or talk radio? Music and news channels can offer stimulation, but after a while you may feel lulled to sleep. Silence may seem boring, but it can actually help you stay focused and conserve energy.
The right answer is often to switch back and forth. Let yourself enjoy some quiet time, then crank up some trucking songs.
Eat Less, More Often
Food is fuel but big meals make you want a siesta. Choose medium-sized meals and collect snacks for the cab. Nuts, seeds, and trail mix work best (so you don't get that sugar crash after carbs and sweets).
Avoid the Bright Lights
The high contrast of bright lights wears on your eyes. Keep the dashboard lights fairly dim, turn down the brightness of your phone, and avoid looking into headlights and neon signs.
Stop for Short Breaks
We all understand the feeling that you need to keep on trucking get the haul over with. However, short breaks can heighten alertness. Better to feel good and keep driving, rather than tire out and stop for the night. Take a brief nap, get out and stretch, or walk around a truck stop to feel reawakened.
Know some more tips to stay awake on long hauls? Share them with your fellow drivers in the comments below. And follow the Trucker to Trucker Blog for more help and advice!