Californians are no stranger to commercial trucks traveling the 15, watching the vehicles carry big loads for long hours through the corridor. But when those hours stretch a little too long, everyone on the road could be in danger.
Truck drivers are notorious for covering long distances for their job, but things can turn deadly when fatigue sets in. Operators that have been working over eight hours are twice as likely to be involved in an accident. While federal regulations look to curb trips that drag on too long, tired truckers can still pose a big threat to other drivers.
Flat-out falling asleep at the wheel is an obvious concern for those driving tired, but hazards can start before it comes to that. Drivers aren’t able to make sound decisions, have slower reaction times and have more trouble paying attention to the road. Being able to spot these drivers is important for identifying potential accidents.
Spotting sleep deprivation
The signs may start subtle, but drivers can become more erratic as they grow more tired:
- Speed: Those that are running fatigued may have difficulty maintaining a constant speed. Their foot may slip off the gas, they could hit the wrong pedal or they aren’t watching their speedometer. This can have them speeding up and slowing down randomly along the road.
- Drift: Lateral movements from fatigued operators may not make sense either. Signs could include fading into an oncoming lane or hitting the rumble strips before jerking the wheel for a correction.
- Attention: The center of these problems comes with paying attention. Whether it’s because their eyes are closing or they can’t focus, drivers are more likely to make mistakes like missing exits or failing to yield.
Spotting a fatigued operator can be essential for avoiding accidents, but it’s not always possible to prevent contact with something of that size moving so quickly. Understanding how tiredness can affect a driver could lead the way to showing fault in an accident.