How to Train Your CDL Drivers to Stay Awake on the Road

Accidents caused by drowsy commercial truck drivers can range from costly to tragic, and the worst part is: They are all preventable.

While drowsy driving becomes much, much more dangerous when winter weather settles in, there’s never a bad time to train your drivers on a few ways to stay alert out on the road.

Setting up a driver safety program

A proper driver safety program allows your company to stay on top of who has received what training and when.

The driver safety program should be based on a mission statement similar to the one that lays out your company’s all-round safety mission. Next, a definite, thorough, and enforceable set of driving safety policies ought to be created and shared with all drivers. OSHA and similar agencies encourage drawing up contract with all drivers. This signed agreement would acknowledge the driver’s recognition and knowledge of traffic safety guidelines and procedures.

A safety program should set up periodic trainings that centers around two-way communication between drivers and trainers. Even experienced drivers can benefit from regular training sessions and their feedback could be invaluable.

Alert driving training

Training on how to avoid drowsy driving should be a cornerstone part of any driver safety program.

Many companies ask for their drivers to take a short 20- or 30-minute nap before they hit the road. Naps of this length are short enough to ensure drivers are alert enough to drive, but of sufficient length to help combat sleepiness for hours. Companies should also ask their drivers to take a short walk in order to truly feel refreshed for the drive ahead. Companies should set up policies that allow their drivers to take a nap to two during the day.

Eating healthy also help to keep drivers alert and full of energy. Soda, fast food and candy might give drivers a burst of short-term energy, but that burst is typically followed by a severe drop in energy. Furthermore, a long-term unhealthy diet can lead to weight problems and chronic low energy. In addition to education its drivers about eating healthy, companies should consider reimbursing and incentivizing drivers for buying healthy foods.

Companies should also mandate that their drivers get a full night’s sleep. Of course drivers know they should get around 8 hours of sleep, but companies need to reinforce the importance of this on a regular basis.

One way to encourage healthy sleep habits is to create a program that incentivizes sleep tracking through a device like a FitBit. Drivers could then be rewarded for showing a pattern of healthy sleep habits.

Other tips to combat drowsy driving include suggesting engaging material to listen to while driving and keeping the cabin at a cool temperature, instead of a warm, cozy temperature.

At NSC Technologies, we consider the safety of our workers and clients to be our top priority. If your company is looking to outsource some or all of its safety training, reach out to us today.

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