Is Fatigue Possible Factor in 18-wheeler Crashes in West Texas? 3/26/12
March 26, 2012
More and more 18-wheelers are sweeping across the Permian Basin and it may seem like there have been more crashes involving them lately.
So what is the cause?
According to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation's 2012 Sleep in America report, many truck drivers are not getting enough sleep.
The report finds 14% of truck drivers surveyed say they've had near misses because of sleepiness.
Fatigue is not uncommon however as around 1 in 10 Americans say they are likely to fall asleep at an inappropriate time and place such as during a meeting or while driving.
The report goes on to find that many truck drivers say their schedule as a major contributor to sleep problems.
27% of truck drivers say their current work schedule does not allow adequate time for sleep.
This is the first poll to ask transportation professionals about their sleep habits and work performance.
If you are troubled by excessive daytime sleepiness or have problems getting or maintaining sleep, try the following sleep tips:
Go to sleep and wake at the same time every day, and avoid spending more time in bed than needed.
Use bright light to help manage your "body clock." Avoid bright light in the evening and expose yourself to sunlight in the morning.
Use your bedroom only for sleep to strengthen the association between your bed and sleep. It may help to remove work materials, computers and televisions from your bedroom.
Select a relaxing bedtime ritual, like a warm bath or listening to calming music.
Create an environment that is conducive to sleep that is quiet, dark and cool with a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Save your worries for the daytime. If concerns come to mind, write them in a "worry book" so you can address those issues the next day.
If you can't sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired.
Exercise regularly, but avoid vigorous workouts close to bedtime.
If you are experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness, snoring, or "stop breathing" episodes in your sleep, contact your health care professional for a sleep apnea screening.
Do you think that fatigue is playing a factor in the crashes involving 18-wheelers in West Texas? If not, what do you think may be playing a role? Tell us your thoughts on our Facebook page.