As a truck driver, you spend a lot of time on the road. You work long days and have erratic sleep schedules. Most truck drivers are also getting paid by how much work you get done, whether it be by the mile, by the hour, or even a percentage of what the load pays. So, staying awake and alert for long periods of time is critical if you want to be a safe, productive driver. Here are some things you can do to stay awake and alert for longer periods of time.

10 Tips to Help Truck Drivers Stay Awake Longer

  1. Don’t allow yourself to get exhausted. If you push yourself while you’re already tired, you know you’re doing something extremely dangerous. You need sleep. When you start feeling tired, try to squeeze in a quick nap or go to bed early for the night. The more exhausted you are when you finally get some sleep, the less alert you’re going to feel when you get up.
  2. Turn down the temperature. We sleep the best when we’re warm and comfortable. Turn down the temperature in the cab to make it cool and a little chilly. That will keep you a little more alert.
  3. Avoid large doses of caffeine. When you mix different stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, you’re not only putting your health at risk, but you’re going to crash hard after a while. Go easy on the caffeine and stimulants.
  4. Get a cup of coffee. Sip on some coffee, but go easy on caffeine overall. There’s no denying caffeine gives you a nice boost once in a while. It’s certainly no replacement for sleep, but it’s a good way to get a little pick me up when you’d like one.
  5. Get something to eat. A snack or a small meal can be a great energy booster. Overdo it and you’ll be pulling off into a rest area for a nap. But the body responds well to small meals with small snacks in between.
  6. Avoid large portions of food. Having a huge mean can make you incredibly sleepy. Think about those post Thanksgiving dinners and remember how you want a nap right after. Eat a lot of smaller meals throughout the day instead of a few large ones.
  7. Avoid high contrast lights at night. The stark contrast between the bright lights and pitch black will make your eyes feel sleepy. You have the bright headlights and dashboard lights in your face, but you’re sitting in a pitch black truck surrounded by the dark night. That can wear you out. Do your best to never look at the oncoming headlights, but off to the side instead.
  8. Take a walk or get some exercise. Get your heart and lungs pumping as a prerequisite for exercise. You’d be amazed how much of a difference a five minute walk into the truck stop or rest area can make. Get out frequently, even if it’s for a quick bottle of water.
  9. Take a nap. It’s incredible how helpful this can be. One or two short naps each day can really help keep you awake and alert for a long time.
  10. Turn on the radio. Quiet time gets tiresome after a while. The endless hum of the engine and tires is relaxing, but maybe it’s putting you in a trance. Crank up some tunes, the CB radio or a talk show for a short time and wake yourself up a little bit.

Keep in mind there is no substitute for sleep. These are just ways to keep your energy levels high and give you a little boost when you’re not feeling as sharp as you’d like. Remember to get as much sleep as you can. You’re not the only one on the road, so drive safe.