I’ve spent a lot of time writing for this blog about the dangers presented by tractor trailers on the road. As a personal injury attorney, I have seen a lot of big truck accidents, so it easy to get wrapped up in that. However, these massive machines play a big part in keeping our country operating. They carry the food, fuel, clothes, and goods that we need to keep our daily lives on track.
Fortunately, the vast majority of trucks on the highways today will make it to their destinations without cause for alarm. New drivers can learn a lot from those who have already been on the road for years. One of the biggest pieces of advice that seems to come up when talking to longtime truck drivers about driving safety is the need to stay mentally on task.
Spending so many hours on the road can be very taxing, both mentally and physically, especially when it means being away from your Saint Petersburg home for days, weeks, or months on end. For that reason, it is essential for truckers to stay vigilant in their efforts to practice driving safety and defend their sanity, and thereby staying alert. If you are considering taking to the road as a new profession, consider these tips for avoiding burn-out and potentially fatal accidents.
Stay Positive. Are you a negative person? Do you have notoriously bad luck? At the end of the day, do you dwell on the handful of stress that was delivered your way or on the things you managed to accomplish? Negativity can do a lot to disrupt a successful career as a truck driver and it can also get you into a lot of trouble on the road.
Getting sucked into a pattern of bad thoughts when there is so much time to think, while driving, can leave you mentally depleted at the end of the day, can make it more difficult to sleep during your down time, and can leave you distracted and prone to mistakes while driving. It is important to consider the good things that await you at the end of each trip, as opposed to focusing on the guy who cut you off a few miles back or the rain that held you up for a while.
Challenge Your Brain. While you certainly can’t play games or check your social media feed on the road, you can do these things when you pull off to get gas or grab a bite to eat. Choose to use your time wisely. Partake in activities that keep your mind active. After spending hours on the road, which can become very monotonous, try to challenge your brain with word or number games. It can also be useful to read and respond to emails, which forces your mind to focus. Avoid falling into a pattern during your stops which does little to keep your mind active and can leave you feeling sluggish and burnt-out by the end of the day.
Stay in Touch. The emotional and the mental aspects of ourselves are very much connected. So, if you feel good emotionally, you are much more likely to stay focused mentally. Take the time to talk to loved ones during your breaks in the day. Hands-free technology is still legal on the roads (be aware that it is legal in St. Petersburg, but some states ban it depending on age and occupation); however, I do caution that conversation can be a big distraction while driving. So, if it can wait until you are safely parked, then please wait.