How well can truck drivers actually sleep?
August 13, 2019
A truck driver pulls out in front of you late one night — or early in the morning — as he leaves the truck stop. You follow the massive vehicle for a few miles, and you cannot help but notice that the driver repeatedly swerves off the side of the road. As soon as the truck hits the rumble strip on the side, the driver pulls back into the lane, but it’s clear that something is wrong.
After a while, you realize that the driver is simply exhausted. He’s swerving off of the road because he’s about to fall asleep behind the wheel.
Eventually, you pass the truck and leave it behind without incident, but it shakes you up. You realize just how easily you could get hit. Having that truck somewhere behind you is also fairly unnerving. That tired driver still feels like a threat until you exit the interstate.
All of this leads you to consider the way that truck drivers sleep. You know they have legal mandates to sleep every so often — or, at least, to stop driving — but you don’t know how well they actually sleep. It makes you wonder if they feel perpetually tired.
The sleeper cab
Generally speaking, long-haul drivers almost always sleep in a sleeper cab. Essentially, there is a very small space right behind the seats with a mattress and almost nothing else. The driver stops at the truck stop, tries to catch a few hours of sleep in the cab, and then gets back on the road.
As you may have guessed, this often means they don’t sleep well at all. After all:
- The cab is cramped and tiny
- The truck stop may be loud all night long
- The mattress is not comfortable
- The sleeper cab may vibrate and move with traffic around it
- The trucker does not have any of the luxuries of home
In fact, most people describe sleeping in the cab as something truckers simply have to deal with or get through, not something they enjoy.
That’s a problem. It means that even a night of sleep may not leave the driver feeling refreshed and recharged. You know how good it feels to climb into your own bed after a long day at work. What if you had a demanding job crossing the country and you never got that same relaxation at the end of the day? No wonder truck drivers have to battle fatigue so often.
No matter why a driver falls asleep behind the wheel, it can prove very dangerous when it happens. If you get injured in an accident, you need to know all of your rights in New Jersey.