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  • Writer's pictureSteven Kastelic

Managing Driver Fatigue - Reactive versus Proactive

Updated: Dec 4, 2018

There’s no reason to feel ashamed or alone if you find yourself dozing off while driving back home after a long day of work on a Monday evening. This is a common problem, and drowsy driving can happen to even the most professional drivers. Managing fatigue is a challenge commercial truck drivers face every day. Their job calls for about 66-90 hours of high demand labor each week, and they constantly need to be alert while driving. There are many strategies drivers use to manage fatigue. Soon drivers will be able to add BlyncSync to their list of strategies; a preventative tool to help drivers optimally plan their drive times based on their own body’s energy level.

From interviewing and working with hundreds of experts in the transportation industry, BlyncSync has discovered there are four categories of approaches when it comes to managing fatigue:

- physical reactive

- physical proactive

- technological reactive

- technological proactive

Physical Reactive

If a driver finds himself/herself fatigued while driving, they may take a reactionary approach and roll the window down, for example, or turn the music up loud. I personally saw a driver put the truck in cruise control and stomp both his feet back and forth. He called it “The sleepy dance”. These are things drivers do to push themselves past the drowsiness. The risk of fighting through fatigue with tactics like this is highly dangerous and is comparable to driving while intoxicated.

Physical Proactive

Minimizing human error is best done from a foundational level. Truck drivers can proactively manage fatigue by getting the right amount of sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.

Physical Routines:

Getting enough sleep

-8 to 10 hours of sleep every night is ideal

-The only way to make up for sleep deprivation is more sleep

-Most fatigue related accidents happen between 12am to 6am, and 2pm to 4pm; consider resting during these times

Maintaining a healthy diet

-Stay hydrated

-Avoid high sugar intake

Exercising 15 to 30 minutes every day

-Consider exercising for intervals of 5 minutes throughout the day

These proactive measures attack the problem of fatigue at the source. Drivers who properly prepare themselves for long drives will significantly reduce their risk for an accident.

Technological Reactive

Many commercial trucks are equipped with safety technology designed to help prevent accidents when drivers find themselves in risky situations on the road.

Safety Tech:

Roll Stability Control

-Helps maintain the truck’s center of gravity to prevent the truck from rolling over

Collision Mitigation Braking System

-Truck sensors detect if traffic is too close and then applies brakes for the truck driver

Dash Cameras

-Inward and outward facing cameras record a few seconds before and after a critical event such as an abrupt swerve, hard brake, or a collision

These safety technologies provide great benefits to users and they have saved a good number of lives. However, let’s consider how these technologies are triggered: at the last moment, while the driver is behind the wheel and in the middle of the road. Safety managers do not see what happens until after the fact. These technologies are used as a last line of defense to help prevent accidents. Owners, safety managers, family members, and the general public want drivers to avoid these risky situations altogether while driving.

Technological Proactive - BlyncSync

It’s not always easy managing fatigue; especially when it directly affects your job every day. Thankfully there will be a new tool soon drivers can use in order to know exactly when they can expect to feel fatigued.

Before a drive begins drivers will be able to use the BlyncSync software to see their own individual energy level, for example, 80% out of 100%, along with the time they can expect their energy to get low. Managers can monitor the energy levels of multiple drivers. This allows for optimal shift scheduling, boosting work efficiency, and reducing the risk of accidents tremendously.

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While drowsy driving poses a threat to drivers everywhere, managing fatigue is a challenge commercial drivers face every day. Consistent healthy physical routines can help maximize sleep quality, and safety tech plays a role in preventing accidents. Fatigue must be managed proactively. BlyncSync intends to provide predictive data for individual drivers to help them make smarter decisions about when the most optimal times are to drive or rest. This will significantly reduce the risk of accidents, save money, and most importantly, save lives.

We welcome your comments! Please share tips and tricks in the comment section of this blog about ways that you manage fatigue.

For questions about BlyncSync, email or call (405) 345-SYNC

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