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The deadly combination of semitrucks and fatigue

Driving around on the freeways is often a test in safety concepts and patience. This is even more obvious when there are large trucks on the road with you. In these cases, you probably feel like your vehicle is dwarfed by the large trucks.

There is one significant issue that occurs when truckers are driving -- fatigue. This can happen even in the middle of the day, so everyone involved in an accident with a semitruck should make sure that they determine if fatigue was a contributing factor.

Circadian rhythm considerations

The body's natural sleep cycle is known as the circadian rhythm. Because of this rhythm, people want to sleep in the late afternoon, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and overnight from midnight to 6 a.m. Truckers who are on the road during this time might become drowsy, which could lead to a catastrophic crash.

Lack of sleep matters

It is also possible for a trucker to feel fatigued because of lack of sleep. A sleep deficit occurs when a person doesn't sleep enough for two or more days in a row. In this case, the body might become so tired that concentration is difficult. While you can't make up that sleep, it is possible that sleeping will reduce the impacts of the fatigue. In some cases, taking a nap will help the trucker to feel rested enough to drive.

Driving conditions might induce fatigue

Driving long hours, which is common for truckers who are paid by the mile, can induce fatigue. Having to drive on familiar roads or in a cab that is stuffy might also cause drowsiness. Highway hypnosis, which occurs when the lull of the highway puts you into a trance, is also possible.

Medications and medical conditions

Some medical conditions, such as obesity, may cause fatigue. Many medications, such as antihistamines, can cause fatigue. Around 17 percent of truckers in one study reported being under the influence of an over-the-counter drug at the time of a crash. Truckers should avoid driving after taking any medication that has drowsiness as a side effect. Additionally, they should make sure that they are eating a diet that helps them to have lasting energy instead of relying on sugar highs that crash fast.

Federal regulations

Federal regulations address the need of truckers to get quality sleep. Truckers must abide by specific time limits for driving and time off. The Hours of Service regulations govern truckers who carry cargo, as well as those who provide transportation for people. This is something to consider if you plan to seek compensation for the crash.

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