CMV Driver Basics Part 3 Driver Wellness


IN THE LAST SECTION, WE TALKED
ABOUT FEDERAL REGULATIONS
GOVERNING DRIVER HEALTH. EVEN IF THERE WERE NO SUCH
REGULATIONS, GETTING AND STAYING
FIT IS A GOOD IDEA! ASK MOST PEOPLE, AND
THEY’LL TELL YOU THAT
HAVING THEIR HEALTH IS ONE OF THE THINGS
THEY VALUE MOST IN LIFE. AND TO A LARGE DEGREE,
THE QUALITY OF YOUR
HEALTH IS UP TO YOU. EATING RIGHT AND EXERCISING PAY
LONG-TERM DIVIDENDS IN BETTER
HEALTH, MORE ENERGY AND A GREATER
SENSE OF WELL BEING. IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO MONITOR
YOUR HEALTH AND UNDERGO
PERIODIC PHYSICAL EXAMS TO IDENTIFY AND TREAT
POTENTIAL PROBLEMS BEFORE
THEY BECOME SERIOUS. WHY IS GOOD HEALTH SO
IMPORTANT TO A CMV DRIVER? WE SAID IT BEFORE-YOUR
JOB IS A STRESSFUL ONE. WHEN YOU’RE BEHIND
THE WHEEL, YOU NEED
TO BE CONSTANTLY ALERT. YOU’RE UNDER PRESSURE TO
PICK UP AND DELIVER NO
MATTER WHAT THE CONDITIONS. ADD IN THE LONELINESS
OVER-THE-ROAD DRIVERS CAN FEEL WHEN THEY’RE AWAY
FROM FAMILY AND FRIENDS, AND
YOU HAVE A RECIPE FOR TROUBLE. YOUR BEST DEFENSE IS TO
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. WELL, FOR ONE THING IT COMES
BACK TO PHYSICAL STANDARDS. IF THEY DON’T MAINTAIN THEIR
HEALTH, THEY’RE NOT GOING
TO HAVE THEIR CDL VERY LONG. WELL, THAT’S PROBABLY THE
MOST DIFFICULT PART OF
THE TRUCK DRIVING JOB IS EATING RIGHT, EATING
THE RIGHT AMOUNTS,
EATING THE RIGHT FOODS, WHEN YOU EAT, AND
WATCHING YOUR WEIGHT. IT’S VERY DIFFICULT ON
THE ROAD TO WATCH YOUR DIET. MANY DRIVERS – EXPERIENCED
DRIVERS PACK FRUIT,
EAT AT THE RIGHT TIMES, DON’T EAT TOO MUCH BEFORE
YOU PARK AND GET WHATEVER
EXERCISE YOU CAN. OBVIOUSLY THERE’S LIMITS
TO WHEN YOU CAN EXERCISE, BUT PICKING THOSE OPPORTUNITIES
AND USING IT IS IMPORTANT. SOME OF THE MOST BASIC
MEASURES OF GOOD HEALTH ARE BLOOD CHOLESTEROL,
BLOOD PRESSURE AND WEIGHT. THESE ARE EACH
MEASURED AND RECORDED BY THE PERSON EXAMINING YOU
FOR YOUR MEDICAL CERTIFICATE, SO IT’S IMPORTANT TO
UNDERSTAND WHAT LEVELS OF
EACH ARE CONSIDERED HEALTHY. IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT TO
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU CAN
DO TO CONTROL EACH OF THEM. LET’S START WITH
BLOOD CHOLESTEROL. SO WHAT IS BLOOD
CHOLESTEROL, ANYWAY? IT’S A FATTY, WAXY
SUBSTANCE IN YOUR BLOOD, AND IF YOU HAVE TOO MUCH OF IT,
IT FORMS A BRITTLE SUBSTANCE
CALLED PLAQUE THAT CAN BUILD UP AND CAUSE
YOUR BLOOD VESSELS TO NARROW. THE PROBLEM IS, YOU DON’T
EVEN KNOW IT’S HAPPENING UNTIL IT BEGINS TO RESTRICT
BLOOD FLOW TO ORGANS LIKE YOUR
HEART AND BRAIN. WHICH, OF COURSE, CAN LEAD
TO HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES. DO YOU KNOW WHETHER
YOUR CHOLESTEROL IS IN
THE HEALTHY RANGE OR NOT? COMPARE YOUR CHOLESTEROL
LEVEL TO THIS CHART FROM THE NATIONAL CHOLESTEROL
EDUCATION PROGRAM. AS YOU CAN SEE,
THERE ARE TWO KINDS
OF CHOLESTEROL-LDL, WHICH IS THE “BAD” CHOLESTEROL
THAT CAUSES BUILDUP, AND HDL, WHICH IS THE “GOOD”
CHOLESTEROL THAT REMOVES
BUILDUP. IT’S BEST IF YOUR TOTAL
CHOLESTEROL IS UNDER 200, YOUR LDL CHOLESTEROL IS UNDER
130, AND YOUR HDL CHOLESTEROL
IS
OVER 50. THE GOOD NEWS IS-IF YOU
HAVE HIGH CHOLESTEROL,
IT CAN BE LOWERED! THE NATIONAL CHOLESTEROL
EDUCATION PROGRAM RECOMMENDS TAKING
THESE FOUR STEPS, BUT CHECK WITH YOUR
DOCTOR BEFORE YOU DO: FIRST, MINIMIZE THE
AMOUNT OF ANIMAL AND
DAIRY PRODUCTS YOU EAT. THESE CAN CONTRIBUTE TO HIGH
CHOLESTEROL, WHERE FRUITS AND
VEGETABLES WILL NOT. BE MINDFUL TO WATCH BOTH
YOUR FAT AND CALORIE INTAKE. STUDIES SHOW THAT CHOLESTEROL
CAN BE LOWERED 15 TO 30
PERCENT WITH THE PROPER DIET. SECOND, DON’T SMOKE OR
DRINK IF YOU CAN AVOID IT, AND IF YOU CAN’T
STOP, AT LEAST CUT DOWN.
BUT YOUR SAFEST BET IS TO STOP! THIRD, ADD ACTIVITY
AND EXERCISE TO YOUR DAY! THIS CAN BE AS
SIMPLE AS BRISK WALKING- ANYTHING THAT WILL
GET YOUR HEART PUMPING. FOURTH, CONSIDER TAKING
A NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT. SEVERAL ARE AVAILABLE
THAT HAVE BEEN SHOWN
TO REDUCE CHOLESTEROL, BUT AGAIN, CHECK WITH YOUR
DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ANY. NOW LET’S MOVE ON
TO BLOOD PRESSURE. WE SAID EARLIER THAT HIGH BLOOD
PRESSURE IS DANGEROUS, WHICH IS
NO SURPRISE TO ANYONE. WE ALL KNOW THAT
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
CAN LEAD TO HEART DISEASE AND INCREASE THE
CHANCES FOR STROKE. IT CAN ALSO LEAD
TO KIDNEY DISEASE. LIKE CHOLESTEROL, IF
YOU HAVEN’T CHECKED YOUR
BLOOD PRESSURE LATELY, YOU MAY NOT EVEN KNOW
YOU HAVE A PROBLEM. THERE MAY BE NO WARNING SIGNS. BUT ONCE YOU DEVELOP HIGH BLOOD
PRESSURE, YOU MAY END UP
BATTLING IT YOUR WHOLE LIFE. YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE SHOULD
BE BELOW 140 OVER 90 TO
BE IN THE HEALTHY RANGE. BUT HOW DO YOU KEEP
IT IN THAT RANGE? ONCE AGAIN, A HEALTHY
LIFESTYLE COMES INTO PLAY. IT’S IMPORTANT TO APPROACH
THE THINGS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE SENSIBLY. THAT INCLUDES WATCHING
YOUR WEIGHT; EXERCISING; EATING A DIET THAT INCLUDES
FRUITS, VEGETABLES
AND LOWFAT DAIRY PRODUCTS; EATING LESS SALT; QUITTING
SMOKING; AND DRINKING IN
MODERATION; OR NOT AT ALL. THESE HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
HABITS SHOULD KEEP YOUR
BLOOD PRESSURE UNDER CONTROL. BUT SOMETIMES A HEALTHY
LIFESTYLE ISN’T ENOUGH. IF THAT’S THE SITUATION YOU
FACE, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR FOR
MEDICATION THAT CAN HELP. WE’VE TALKED ABOUT
CHOLESTEROL. WE’VE TALKED
ABOUT BLOOD PRESSURE. YOU’VE PROBABLY NOTICED THAT
BOTH OF THESE ARE INFLUENCED BY
YOUR WEIGHT. IT’S EASY TO GAIN WEIGHT
AS YOU AGE, SIMPLY BECAUSE YOUR BODY NEEDS FEWER
CALORIES TO FUNCTION. IF YOU DON’T CUT CALORIES OR
INCREASE ACTIVITY AS YOU GET
OLDER, YOU’LL GAIN WEIGHT. BELIEVE ME, I KNOW! BUT BEING OVERWEIGHT
CONTRIBUTES TO SO
MANY HEALTH PROBLEMS- NOT JUST CHOLESTEROL AND
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, BUT WATCHING YOUR WEIGHT IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS YOU CAN DO TO KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY. WE KNOW – IT’S HARD TO EAT
RIGHT WHEN YOU’RE ON THE ROAD- BUT MORE AND MORE
RESTAURANTS ARE ADDING
HEALTHY FOODS TO CATER TO THE GROWING NUMBER OF PEOPLE
WHO WANT TO DO SOMETHING
ABOUT THEIR WEIGHT. I DO GROCERY SHOPPING
BEFORE I LEAVE ON THE ROAD, AND I ALWAYS FILL MY
COOLER FULL OF GOOD STUFF. I DON’T STOP AT
TRUCK STOPS AT NIGHT AND
FILL MY TUMMY AT A BUFFET- TIL I CAN’T EAT ANYMORE
AND THEN GO PLOP MYSELF
IN THE BED AND SLEEP. I EAT GOOD THINGS. SMALL
MEALS, SMALL PORTION SIZES. SO I DON’T GAIN A LOT OF
WEIGHT, AND I STAY HEALTHY. ON THE ROAD, I TRY
TO STAY AWAY FROM THE
FAST FOOD. THE FRIED STUFF. I TRY TO EAT
AT THE TRUCKSTOPS, I TRY TO EAT SALADS AT THE
TRUCKSTOPS ALONG WITH MEAT AND
VEGETABLES. WHEN I FIRST STARTED
DRIVING, THERE WAS A TEMPTATION WHEN THEY STOPPED AT PLACES
LIKE MCDONALDS, ETC. TO EAT THE BIG MAC
AND THE BIG MEAL. AND, IF YOU EAT TOO MUCH YOU
TEND TO GET TIRED MORE QUICKLY. SO IT’S BETTER TO EAT
SMALLER MEALS AND MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOME LIQUIDS WITH
YOU WHEN YOU’RE DRIVING. Narrator:
WHETHER YOU’RE
ON THE ROAD, OR AT HOME, IT’S IMPORTANT TO EAT RIGHT.
THAT INCLUDES EATING AT LEAST 3
MEALS A DAY. THAT’S RIGHT-SKIPPING MEALS
ISN’T HEALTHY AND IT MAKES
WEIGHT LOSS DIFFICULT. IN ORDER TO STIMULATE
YOUR METABOLISM AND
BURN MORE CALORIES, YOU NEED TO EAT REGULARLY. EVEN BETTER: EAT SMALLER MEALS
MORE FREQUENTLY, RATHER THAN A
FEW LARGE ONES. EATING RIGHT ALSO INCLUDES HAVING AT LEAST 5
SERVINGS OF FRUITS
AND VEGETABLES EVERY DAY. WATCHING HOW MUCH FAT YOU’RE
CONSUMING- ESPECIALLY SATURATED
FAT, WHICH IS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR
TO HIGH CHOLESTEROL. MODERATING YOUR SUGAR,
SALT AND SODIUM INTAKE- AND LIMITING THE AMOUNT
OF ALCOHOL YOU CONSUME. THIS ALL MAY SOUND
LIKE A BROKEN RECORD, BUT IT’S IMPORTANT
INFORMATION IF YOU WANT
TO GET-OR STAY-HEALTHY. IT CAN ALSO BE HARD TO
EXERCISE WHEN YOU’RE ON
THE ROAD, BUT IT CAN BE DONE. I EXERCISE WHEN I
GET DONE DRIVING. GENERALLY, THE TRUCKSTOPS ARE
BIG ENOUGH THAT I CAN GET OUT AND JUST DO 30 MINUTES OF
WALKING AROUND THE TRUCKSTOPS. JUST DOING SOMETHING TO GET
THE HEART PUMPING A LITTLE BIT. I MEAN, DOING SOMETHING
IS BETTER THAN DOING NOTHING. AS FAR AS EXERCISE, WE DON’T
GET A WHOLE LOT OF EXERCISE. WALKING AROUND YOUR
TRUCK, PARKING FURTHER
AWAY FROM TRUCKSTOPS. SOME PEOPLE EVEN CARRY
THEIR BICYCLE ALONG AND THEY STOP AND GO
FOR A LITTLE BICYCLE RIDE. SOME PEOPLE WITH ROLLER
BLADES, ALL KINDS OF
THINGS TO GET SOME EXERCISE. AS YOU KNOW, WE SIT IN
A SEAT, WE DON’T GET A LOT. JUST SIMPLY GETTING OUT OF THEIR
TRUCK EVERY FIVE, SIX HOURS. IF NOTHING ELSE,
WALKING AROUND THEIR TRUCK AND GETTING SOME OF THE BLOOD
KINDA FLOWING BACK IN THE
LOWER PORTIONS OF THEIR BODY. THERE ARE THINGS
DRIVERS CAN DO. HERE ARE SOME SIMPLE
WORKOUT TIPS YOU CAN MAKE
PART OF YOUR DAILY ROUTINE. THINK ABOUT BRINGING WEIGHTS OR
A CHEST-PULL SPRING EXERCISER
ALONG ON THE ROAD, AND USE THEM 3 OR 4 TIMES
A DAY, 10 MINUTES AT A TIME. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW HOW
TO USE THEM PROPERLY, THOUGH,
TO GET THE GREATEST BENEFIT. PARK FAR AWAY FROM
BUILDINGS TO ADD WALKING TO AND FROM YOUR VEHICLE
PART OF YOUR ROUTINE. IN FACT, THE ONE THING
YOU CAN DO ANYWHERE IS WALK! WATCH FOR FITNESS CENTERS
ALONG YOUR ROUTE AND PLAN
TIME TO STOP IN FOR A WORKOUT. THESE ARE JUST A FEW IDEAS. YOU CAN PROBABLY
THINK OF A DOZEN
MORE THAT WILL ADD HEALTHY, BUT SIMPLE,
ACTIVITY TO YOUR DAY. IT’S ALSO IMPORTANT
TO STAY MENTALLY FIT AND LEARN TO COPE
WITH YOUR EMOTIONS
WHEN YOU’RE DRIVING A CMV. COPING STRATEGIES INCLUDE: WE ALWAYS TELL OUR DRIVERS
THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE. THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS I
TALK TO THEM ABOUT BEFORE
THEY GET ASSIGNED A TRUCK. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT CREATES
A TON OF STRESS IN THIS INDUSTRY
IS IF THEY DON’T COMMUNICATE, IF THEY GET TOLD SOMETHING
BY THEIR OPERATIONS
PERSON THEY DON’T LIKE, THEY NEED TO SAY
SOMETHING ABOUT IT. THEY NEED TO POINT OUT, “I’M
NOT SUPPOSED TO BE DOING THIS. I’M SUPPOSED TO BE A REGIONAL
DRIVER, I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO GO
TO CALIFORNIA.” THAT RIGHT THERE IS PROBABLY ONE
OF THE LARGEST CAUSES OF STRESS, IS JUST COMMUNICATION BETWEEN
OPERATIONS AND DRIVERS. AND THE DRIVER NEEDS TO
UNDERSTAND THAT IF THINGS AREN’T
GOING THE WAY THEY EXPECTED, THEY SHOULD SAY
SOMETHING TO SOMEBODY. I TELL NEW DRIVERS
WHEN THEY COME IN,
THAT IF YOU HAVE AN ISSUE, PICK UP THE PHONE,
CALL, GET THE ISSUE OVER, DEAL WITH THE THINGS
THAT YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH, AND TAKE CARE OF THE THINGS
THAT YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF. A LOT OF TIMES I’LL GET OUT
OF THE TRUCK, I’LL BE SO MAD
ABOUT SOMETHING OR ANYTHING THAT I’LL YELL AT THE
TRUCK, KICK THE TIRE, OR
JUST WALK AROUND THE TRUCK, THINK ABOUT IT AND
JUST WALK IT OFF –
RELIEVE THE STRESS. TO HELP YOURSELF RELAX,
TRY THESE TECHNIQUES: STOP THE VEHICLE IF YOU
CAN, GET OUT AND STRETCH,
AND EXERCISE BRIEFLY. IF YOU CAN’T PULL OVER, TRY
BREATHING DEEPLY AND REGULARLY
AS YOU GO DOWN THE ROAD. LISTEN TO MUSIC.
TRY TO RECOGNIZE
THE THINGS YOU CAN’T CHANGE- LIKE THE DRIVING
HABITS OF OTHERS-AND
LEARN TO ACCEPT THEM. THE FINAL ASPECT OF
WELLNESS THAT WE’LL COVER HAS TO DO WITH
ALCOHOL AND DRUG ABUSE. AS WE SAID IN THE LAST SECTION,
DRIVING, DRUGS AND DRINKING
ARE A DEADLY COMBINATION. DON’T DO IT! IF YOU’RE UNDER THE
INFLUENCE, YOU SHOULDN’T
BE ANYWHERE NEAR A CMV, LET ALONE DRIVING IT. PROFESSIONAL DRIVERS CAN DO
THEIR JOBS WITHOUT CONTROLLED
SUBSTANCES OR ALCOHOL TO HELP THEM STAY
AWAKE OR KEEP THEIR EDGE. PART OF BEING A
PROFESSIONAL IS KNOWING
WHEN IT’S SAFE TO DRIVE. IF YOU’RE TIRED OR
STRESSED, TAKE CARE OF
IT IN A HEALTHFUL WAY. ONCE YOU START THE CYCLE OF
DRUG OR ALCOHOL USE, THERE’S
NO EASY WAY TO STOP IT. DON’T START, OR IF YOU
THINK YOU HAVE A PROBLEM,
SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP. IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW THE
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION’S
DRUG AND ALCOHOL PROHIBITIONS AND YOUR COMPANY’S INDIVIDUAL
POLICY, AND ABIDE BY THEM. IT CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE, AND
THE LIVES OF COUNTLESS OTHERS. NOW IT’S TIME TO
TURN OUR ATTENTION TO ONE OF THE TOP CAUSES
OF MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS. DRIVER FATIGUE. DRIVING TIRED IS SOMETHING
ALL DRIVERS EXPERIENCE
AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER. AND PROBABLY FAIRLY OFTEN. BUT WHEN YOU’RE
RESPONSIBLE FOR A 20-TON RIG OR A BUSLOAD OF KIDS
AT 55 MILES PER HOUR, YOU NEED TO BE IN
CONTROL OF YOURSELF AND
YOUR VEHICLE EVERY SECOND. WHEN YOU’RE FATIGUED,
YOU’RE NOT IN CONTROL, NO
MATTER WHAT YOU MIGHT THINK. IN FACT, IN EXTREME CASES,
FATIGUE CAN CAUSE YOUR BRAIN
TO SHUTDOWN INVOLUNTARILY. YOU MAY EXPERIENCE:
VISUAL DISTORTION; REDUCED DECISION-MAKING AND
PROBLEM SOLVING ABILITIES; INHIBITED MUSCLE
RESPONSE AND COORDINATION; REDUCED REACTION TIME;
INABILITY TO CONCENTRATE; OR IRRITABILITY,
EXHAUSTION AND GIDDINESS DO THESE CONDITIONS
SOUND FAMILIAR? THEY’RE THE SAME THINGS YOU
MIGHT SEE IN PEOPLE UNDER
THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL. YOU WOULDN’T DRIVE
DRUNK, WOULD YOU?
SO DON’T DRIVE TIRED! FATIGUE CAUSES ANOTHER
SYMPTOM THAT CAN BE EVEN
MORE DEADLY- HIGHWAY HYPNOSIS. WE’VE ALL HAD IT HAPPEN. YOU’RE DRIVING ALONG A
DULL STRETCH OF HIGHWAY
AND NOTHING TO LOOK AT, NOTHING TO HOLD YOUR ATTENTION. THE MILE MARKERS
JUST KEEP PASSING BY. THEN YOU SUDDENLY REALIZE
YOU DON’T REMEMBER THE
LAST TEN MILES! EXPERTS CALL THIS
DANGEROUS PHENOMENON
DRIVING WITHOUT AWARENESS, OR DWA SYNDROME. IT CAN HAPPEN EVEN WHEN YOU’RE
WELL RESTED, BUT MORE OFTEN IT
COMES WITH FATIGUE. THE PROBLEM IS, YOU MAY
NOT COME OUT OF THE TRANCE UNTIL YOUR MIND FINALLY
REGISTERS A HAZARD AHEAD- AND THEN IT MAY BE TOO LATE TO
REACT APPROPRIATELY AND SAFELY! THE KEY FACTORS CONTRIBUTING
TO FATIGUE-RELATED CMV
ACCIDENTS ARE: SLEEP DEBT CAUSES
A PERSON TO NOT BE AS
AWARE OF THEIR SURROUNDINGS AND THEREFORE THEY MAY BE
AWAKE, BUT THEY’RE NOT ALERT, AND THAT, DURING
TIMES OF BOREDOM CAN
CAUSE THEM TO FALL ASLEEP WHEN THEY HAD NO
INTENTION OF FALLING ASLEEP. THE PROBLEM WITH FATIGUE
IS A DRIVER SUFFERING
FATIGUE STARTS TUNNELING OUT. NORMALLY A DRIVER NEEDS TO BE
ABLE TO SEE 360 DEGREES AROUND. MIRROR CHECKS, TRAFFIC CHECKS,
HE HAS TO HAVE VERY GOOD VISION,
VERY GOOD EYE MOVEMENT. ONE OF THE FIRST
THINGS THAT HAPPENS
WHEN A DRIVER GETS FATIGUE IS HE LOSES THAT ABILITY,
HE STARTS TUNNELING. IF HE ALLOWS IT TO GO LONG
ENOUGH, THE NEXT THING HE KNOWS IS THE ONLY THING HE’S DOING IS
LOOKING OUT THE LEFT WINDSHIELD. IF I’M TIRED I WILL
DEFINITELY LAY DOWN AND
SLEEP FOR A PERIOD OF TIME. 20 MINUTES OR SO.
USUALLY REFRESHES YOU,
GETS YOU FEELING BETTER. TRYING NOT TO START OUT
FATIGUED IN THE FIRST
PLACE IS VERY IMPORTANT. MOSTLY I DEAL WITH FATIGUE
BY FINDING A PLACE AND
TAKING A NAP. GETTING SLEEP. LACK OF SLEEP IS
THE NUMBER ONE FACTOR
LEADING TO DRIVER FATIGUE. HOW ARE YOUR SLEEPING HABITS? CONSIDER HOW EACH OF
THE FOLLOWING ASPECTS OF SLEEP MIGHT HELP YOU GET
A BETTER NIGHT’S REST. FIRST, LET’S TALK
ABOUT SLEEP DEBT. SLEEP DEBT IS THE TIME WHEN
YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH SLEEP.
IT USUALLY BUILDS UP OVER TIME. PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY ARE
ALWAYS BEHIND IN THEIR SLEEP, AND IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO
GET BACK TO WHERE YOU HAVE
FULFILLED THAT SLEEP DEBT. IT DOESN’T JUST HAPPEN WITH
ONE NIGHT OF SLEEP. IT TAKES
A LONG TIME TO GET THAT BACK. PROBABLY TWO NIGHTS OF
GOOD SLEEP TO ACTUALLY
REPLACE THAT SLEEP DEBT. Narrator:
MOST ADULTS NEED
BETWEEN 7 AND 8 HOURS OF UNINTERRUPTED SLEEP
TO FEEL WELL RESTED.
SOME MAY NEED MORE. IF YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH SLEEP,
YOU MAY BE ABLE TO FUNCTION
FINE FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS, BUT SOON SLEEP
DEBT CAN DEVELOP. THE LONGER YOU GO WITHOUT
ENOUGH SLEEP, THE MORE
YOU’LL NEED TO CATCH UP. THERE’S NO WAY AROUND SLEEP
DEBT OTHER THAN GETTING THE
SLEEP YOUR BODY IS CRAVING. UNFORTUNATELY, YOU CAN’T
BUILD UP A BANK OF SLEEP TIME, AND THEN
EXPECT TO GO WITHOUT. IT’S JUST A MATTER OF THE
DRIVER BEING DISCIPLINED. REALIZING THAT IF I’VE
GOT TO DRIVE ALL NIGHT, I’VE GOT TO SLEEP SOME
TIME DURING THE DAY. THAT KIND OF GOES AGAINST
A LOT OF PEOPLE’S
NATURAL BODY RHYTHMS, OR WHEN
THEY’RE AT HOME AGAINST
THE SCHEDULE OF THE FAMILY. BUT IF YOU HAV SOMEWHERE AROUND FOUR IN THE AFTERNOON, YOU’D BETTER BE
LOOKING FOR SOME SLEEP. IF YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH SLEEP,
YOU TEND TO BE MORE TENSE. WHEN YOU GET PLENTY OF SLEEP, YOU’RE RELAXED AND ON A
LONGER HAUL OF COURSE,
IT HELPS YOU TO STAY AWAKE… TO BE MORE ALERT IS,
I GUESS, THE BEST TERM. PROPER REST. WHEN
IT’S A TEN HOUR BREAK, DON’T BE SITTING
IN THE TRUCKSTOP
PLAYING VIDEO MACHINES. GET YOUR REST,
‘CAUSE YOU NEED IT. Narrator:
WE’RE CREATURES OF HABIT, US
HUMANS, MORE THAN WE REALIZE. OUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM-OR
OUR BODY’S INTERNAL CLOCK- TELLS US WHEN AND
HOW MUCH SLEEP WE NEED. MOST PEOPLE’S CLOCKS
RUN ON A 24 HOUR PERIOD. YOUR BODY EXPECTS YOU
TO WAKE UP AT A CERTAIN TIME, EAT AT A CERTAIN TIME,
AND SLEEP AT A CERTAIN TIME. IF YOUR SCHEDULE CHANGES-SAY
YOU’RE IN A DIFFERENT TIME ZONE OR YOU CHANGE FROM A
DAY SHIFT TO A NIGHT SHIFT- YOUR INTERNAL CLOCK NEEDS TIME
TO ADJUST TO THE NEW SCHEDULE. MEANING YOU NEED TO
WATCH OUT FOR FATIGUE. GETTING THE RIGHT KIND OF
SLEEP IS JUST AS IMPORTANT
AS GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP. AS YOU SLEEP, YOUR BODY GOES
THROUGH DIFFERENT STAGES, FROM
LIGHT TO DEEP SLEEP. GETTING 8 HOURS OF
UNINTERRUPTED SLEEP ALLOWS YOUR BODY TO GET
THE MAXIMUM VALUE THAT
QUALITY SLEEP PROVIDES. SOME DRIVERS FIND THAT NO
MATTER HOW MUCH SLEEP THEY
GET, THEY STILL FEEL TIRED. THEY MAY BE SUFFERING
FROM SLEEP APNEA, A CONDITION THAT CAN
WAKEN YOU HUNDREDS OF
TIMES DURING THE NIGHT AS A RESULT OF
BREATHING DIFFICULTIES. IF YOU SUSPECT YOU MAY BE
SUFFERING FROM A SLEEP DISORDER, CONSULT A
PHYSICIAN FOR TREATMENT! HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO
HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER: MAKE SURE THE ROOM IS A
COMFORTABLE TEMPERATURE; EXERCISE EARLY IN THE DAY TO
HELP SLEEP AT NIGHT- DON’T DO
IT
RIGHT BEFORE BED; AND IF YOU CAN’T GET
TO SLEEP RIGHT AWAY, JUST GET UP AND FIND
SOMETHING QUIET TO DO
UNTIL YOU FEEL DROWSY. AND WHAT ABOUT HOW YOU
SPEND YOUR OFF DUTY TIME? WE ALL HAVE
THINGS WE ENJOY DOING, PLUS RESPONSIBILITIES
THAT WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF. BUT DO YOU PLAN ENOUGH TIME FOR
SLEEPING WHEN YOU’RE OFF DUTY? INSTEAD OF DOING THINGS
THAT WILL WEAR YOU OUT
RIGHT BEFORE A TRIP- LIKE RUSHING TO GET
YARDWORK OR HOUSEWORK DONE- PLAN RELAXING ACTIVITIES SO
YOU AREN’T STRESSED OUT AT
THE END OF YOUR REST TIME. FATIGUE IS COMMONLY
CONSIDERED A PHYSICAL PROBLEM, BUT STRESS CAN BE
A BIG CONTRIBUTOR TOO. YOU MAY NOT EVEN
FEEL PHYSICALLY TIRED, BUT STRESS CAN TIRE YOU OUT
MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY,
MAKING YOU FEEL DRAINED. AS STRESS BUILDS UP,
YOU BECOME DISTRACTED. KEEPING THINGS BOTTLED UP
ONLY MAKES THE PROBLEM WORSE, AND SOON YOU
LOSE CONCENTRATION,
ALERTNESS AND STAMINA. DIFFERENT PEOPLE BATTLE
STRESS IN DIFFERENT WAYS, BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS
YOU CAN DO TO TAKE THE EDGE OFF. CONSIDER EXERCISING; TALKING TO ANOTHER
DRIVER OR A FRIEND; TAKING A WALK; LISTENING TO MUSIC; BUILDING SOMETHING; WHATEVER YOU DO, RECOGNIZE
STRESS FOR WHAT IT IS, AND DO SOMETHING
TO TAKE THE PRESSURE OFF. I THINK THE BIGGEST
KEY TO STRESS IS COMMUNICATION. WHEN YOU HAVE A PROBLEM
YOU WORK THAT PROBLEM OUT. YOU TALK TO
YOUR MANAGEMENT.
YOU TALK TO DISPATCH. YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND
THAT THERE ARE CERTAIN
PROBLEMS IN TRUCKING AND YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH THOSE
PROBLEMS AND YOU HAVE TO MAKE
THAT PART OF YOUR DAILY ROUTINE. Narrator:
SOMETIMES STRESS CAN BRING
OUT THE BEST IN A DRIVER. LIKE WHEN WHITE-KNUCKLE
WEATHER CONDITIONS FORCE YOU TO BE MORE AWARE OF
EVERYTHING GOING ON AROUND YOU. BUT ONCE THE NEED TO BE ALERT
PASSES, YOU MAY EXPERIENCE
STRESS-INDUCED FATIGUE. A CONDITION THAT
LEADS TO MISTAKES. A DRIVER MIGHT TRAVEL FOR HOURS
THROUGH A BLINDING SNOWSTORM, THEN END UP IN A DITCH
JUST A FEW MILES FROM HOME. LETTING DOWN YOUR GUARD
TOO SOON IS AN EASY MISTAKE- AND ONE YOU
SHOULD BE CAREFUL TO AVOID. DRIVING FATIGUED CAN BE
DEADLY, BOTH FOR YOU
AND OTHERS ON THE ROAD. FATIGUE IS ONE OF THE TOP
CONTRIBUTORS TO ACCIDENTS INVOLVING INJURIES
AND FATALITIES. SO HOW DO YOU RECOGNIZE
WHEN IT’S TIME TO TAKE A BREAK? HERE ARE FOUR SIGNS THAT IT’S
TIME TO PULL OVER IMMEDIATELY: AND HERE ARE SOME SIGNS
THAT YOU’VE CROSSED THE LINE AND SHOULDN’T BE
ON THE ROAD AT ALL: YOU FIND YOURSELF WEAVING
OR DRIFTING ACROSS LANES; YOUR EYES START TO
PLAY TRICKS ON YOU; AN EXIT RAMP MIGHT LOOK
LIKE YOUR LANE, OR A ROAD
SIGN MAY LOOK LIKE A PERSON; YOU SEE “PHANTOM” VEHICLES
AND JERK TO ATTENTION,
WONDERING WHAT JUST HAPPENED; YOU CAN’T CONCENTRATE FOR
MORE THAN A FEW SECONDS; YOUR EYELIDS FEEL
UNBEARABLY HEAVY, OCCASIONALLY EVEN
CLOSING BY THEMSELVES; OR YOUR HEAD FALLS TOWARD
YOUR CHEST, AND YOU
MAY ACTUALLY DOZE OFF. THE TRUE PROFESSIONAL
STOPS FOR A BREAK
BEFORE ENDANGERING LIVES. AND YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY
WHO GETS TIRED ON THE ROAD. KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THE
PEOPLE OUT THERE WITH YOU, TOO. IF YOU NOTICE ANOTHER
DRIVER SUFFERING FROM FATIGUE, DON’T BE AFRAID
TO LET HIM OR HER KNOW THAT NO ONE IN THAT
CONDITION BELONGS ON THE ROAD. WHAT CAN YOU DO
TO AVOID FATIGUE? USE COMMON-SENSE
TECHNIQUES LIKE PLANNING YOUR ROUTES
TO MINIMIZE DRIVING AND
ALLOW TIME FOR BREAKS; OPERATING YOUR
VEHICLE SMOOTHLY; CUTTING DOWN ON ROUGH SHIFTING,
HARD TURNS AND SUDDEN BRAKING; AVOIDING CAFFEINE ON
THE ROAD-IT’LL PICK
YOU UP FOR A WHILE, BUT LEAVE YOU EVEN
MORE TIRED THAN BEFORE; IF YOU WEAR GLASSES, MAKE SURE
YOUR PRESCRIPTION IS CURRENT; ALSO USE SUNGLASSES IN
SUNNY WEATHER AND KEEP
YOUR WINDSHIELD CLEAN. EYE STRAIN CAN LEAD
TO TENSION HEADACHES,
WHICH CAN LEAD TO FATIGUE. EAT HEALTHY MEALS ON THE
ROAD-FOODS HIGH IN FAT,
CARBOHYDRATES OR CALORIES, BUT LOW IN NUTRITION,
CAN MAKE YOU FEEL TIRED. AND OF COURSE,
GET PLENTY OF SLEEP! WHEN YOU’VE BEEN ON THE ROAD
FOR AWHILE AND YOU BEGIN TO
FEEL FATIGUE, REMEMBER THIS: NO MATTER HOW MANY YEARS
YOU’VE BEEN DRIVING A CMV, OR HOW MANY
MILES YOU’VE LOGGED,
YOU’RE NOT A MACHINE. YOU’RE HUMAN,
AND YOU NEED SLEEP. YOU KNOW IT TAKES A
SHARP MIND AND STEADY
HAND TO CONTROL YOUR VEHICLE. SO WHEN YOU CONSIDER GOING JUST
A LITTLE FARTHER BEFORE YOU
REST, ASK YOURSELF: IS IT REALLY WORTH IT?

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