If you haul freight as an over-the-road trucker, it is likely that you will drive your semi-truck during the night at some point during your career. Some drivers actually prefer this because there are fewer cars on the road. However, trucking at night can also be dangerous if you don’t take proper precautions. Knowing how to safely operate your semi-truck after dark is important to keep yourself and those you share the road with safe.
Some tips for safe night driving:
Fatigue is one of the most common causes of accidents. It’s important to stay well-rested and you should not drive when you are too tired to do so safely. Hours of service regulations are intended to help ensure that you have time to sleep. However, your quality of sleep is just as important as the length of time you sleep. Consider investing in high-quality pillows or a mattress topper. You can also add small items to your semi-truck sleeper that can improve your comfort and help you stay asleep.
In addition to sleeping for a longer period of time, shorter naps can be helpful. If you are beginning to feel tired, you can park for a thirty-minute nap. Even this small period of time can be enough to energize you for the rest of your shift.
Although it can be tempting to drink coffee or energy drinks if you are feeling tired, this may not be the best choice. A little bit of caffeine here and there could be fine, but the more you drink, the more likely it is that you will crash later. Too much caffeine can also make it harder to fall asleep when you are done driving for the night, which impacts your sleep schedule and prevents you from getting the rest you need.
Avoid Bright Lights
Bright lights can impair your vision when trucking at night. Make sure not to look directly at the headlights of oncoming traffic and keep the lights in your cab dim. Keeping your windshield clean can also be helpful to make sure any external lights don’t reflect in unexpected ways that can limit your visibility.
Follow General Rules for Safe Trucking
The same rules that you should follow while driving during the day apply for nighttime driving.
Some overall tips for safe driving include:
- Be aware of any weather conditions that might impact your route.
- Stay off your phone while you are driving.
- Maintain proper following distance with the vehicle in front of you.
- Follow posted speed limits, and keep in mind that you may need to go slower than this depending on driving conditions. When in doubt, slow down.
- Plan ahead so you know where you can safely stop if you need a break.
We Care About Our Drivers
At DSW, we care about our drivers and want you to stay safe on the road. We also work with you to help you get miles, get paid, and get home regularly.