The supply chain shortages that are resulting in empty store shelves in North Carolina highlight the important role semi-truck drivers play in interstate commerce. Semi-truck drivers often spend long hours on the road to earn a sustainable income. Long hours combined with overnight driving can cause anyone to suffer fatigue, and truckers are no exception. Truck driver fatigue is a serious issue that can lead to trucking accidents that cause serious injuries or even fatalities.
While some truck accidents take place during rush hour, simply due to an increase in traffic, there are certain times of day when a trucker is naturally drowsy and prone to causing a collision. This is due to our natural circadian rhythm. As humans, we are naturally drowsy from midnight until 6:00 a.m. and again from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. During these natural lulls we have trouble paying attention to the road and may even doze off. This can easily lead to a trucking accident caused by a drowsy truck driver.
If we have a cold, a headache, an infection or chronic pain we may reach for a variety of over-the-counter or prescription medications. It is important, however, to read the labels on any medications you take before driving. This is because many over-the-counter and prescription medications list drowsiness as a side effect. If a trucker takes a medication that causes drowsiness and then gets behind the wheel it could easily lead to a truck accident. Sometimes it is better to suffer the virus or pain and start driving once you feel well again, rather than driving while medicated.
Many truckers think they have the key to staying alert while spending long hours on the road. Some may drink a cup of strong coffee or an energy drink, thinking the caffeine will keep them awake. Others may roll down the window for fresh air, play loud music or smoke a cigarette. However, these alertness tricks do not stave off drowsiness in the long run and could give truckers a false sense of security that leads to serious crashes.
Accidents between a standard passenger vehicle and a semi-truck are often devastating due to the sheer size disparity between a semi-truck and an automobile. If you are injured in a truck accident caused by a drowsy trucker, you will want to make sure you understand all your options for compensation.