Driving the hours that work for you (and your trucking company) is critical to your success as a truck driver. If you need to make the switch from daytime driving to night time, there are benefits. Driving at night means the roads are less busy and you avoid rush hour traffic or other slowdowns. It is also easier to find parking in the evening hours. To make the most out of these benefits and stay safe while driving at night, use the following guidelines.
Know Your Route
A little advance planning makes your entire night trip much safer. During the day it is easy to see construction signs or read travel warning. Plan your route and be prepared for any road construction or changes that might be harder to navigate at night. Keeping track of the weather as you plan your trip will also help you to prepare in advance for any unexpected or potentially dangerous weather conditions.
Keep Your Headlights and Mirrors Clean
Your headlights are your first line of defense against dark driving conditions. During the day other drivers can easily see your truck approaching, but the same is not true at night. Foggy or dirty headlights limit your visibility and make it harder for other drivers to see you approaching on the road. Along those same lines, if your mirrors are too dirty to use, you might not see approaching vehicles, which can be especially dangerous in the dark.
Watch out for Other Drivers
As a truck driver, you’ve had a lot of experience and training that makes you a smart and safe driver. But not all drivers on the road at night will have the same level of training or experience as you. To help these drivers stay safe, always follow the rules of the road and drive cautiously when passing or approaching other vehicles. Dim your headlights as other drivers approach to help their visibility, and use your blinkers to communicate your intentions as you turn or pass others on the road. During the day it’s not possible to blind other drivers with your lights and they can see your vehicle turning or passing without the use of blinkers, but at night all of these indicators are important to avoid an accident.
Getting used to driving at night is no easy task. It takes time to get used to driving at night and sleeping during the day. It is easier to stay alert during the day because your body is trained to be awake and the sunlight lets your body know that is it time to stay awake. Until you’re used to driving at night schedule times to stop and rest. Schedule rests before you know you’ll be too tired to keep driving so that you’re always alert on the road.
Eating a big meal at supper time will make you feel groggy and tired heading into your evening shift. Try to break your meals down into smaller portions to avoid a post-meal slump. Keep lots of snacks handy to maintain steady blood sugar levels. Finally, if you do eat a large meal, try a power nap to wake up restored and ready to drive.
It is easier to drive safely at night by understanding how your driving or habits might have to change from day to night. Remember to always use caution, whether driving at night or during the day.
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