Driving while exhausted

Written by: on February 3rd, 2016

We’ve all done it. After a night of little to no sleep, we’ve jumped behind the wheel of a 3,000 pound machine and drive off to work or class utterly exhausted. While the majority of us do this without a second thought, driving while sleep-deprived can be extremely dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are an estimated 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths due to fatigue. In fact drowsiness or the equivalent of being awake 18 hours is equal to a blood alcohol content of .05%. Studies also show that sleep loss and poor quality sleep lead to increased accidents and injuries on the job.

As an over the road driver, it is almost impossible to keep a regular schedule and obtain the suggested “full eight hours,” but there are some things you can do to help. What you eat throughout the day can play a huge part in the quality of sleep you’ll get. Studies show individuals that consume fewer portions of vegetables, have more irregular meal patterns and eat more refined carbs like white bread and rice sleep less than others. It becomes a cruel cycle of craving things like  caffeine or sugar to help perk you up after a poor night’s sleep and then not being able to sleep well the next night because of what you ate or drank to help in the first place. Making sure you eat a healthy and well-rounded diet full of vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains can minimize the health risk and promote a better night’s sleep.

Infographic from Automotive Fleet's "Drowsy Driving on the Rise" article

Infographic from Automotive Fleet’s “Drowsy Driving on the Rise” article

Physical activity also can help. It can be as simple as walking around the parking lot or truck a couple of times or doing yoga. A study from the Sleep Foundation showed that those who did a moderate-intensity activity fell asleep quicker and had an increased length of sleep than those who did not exercise. Not only does exercise help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and obesity, but it is a great outlet to relieve stress, which can be another road block to a good night’s sleep.

If you are in need of a quick fix, experts at the Clayton Sleep Institute recommend taking a 20-minute break every 100 miles. Sleep deprivation also affects our short-term memory, so if you find yourself forgetting how you got from Point A to Point B, pull over immediately and take a “20-30 minute nap.”  Caffeine can work, but it does take about 20-30 minutes to kick in. Remember, this a temporary solution for the problem at hand. Visit your doctor if you are consistently having issues or the problem becomes more common. There might be underlying health issues that are impacting your sleeping patterns.

Weather resources

Written by: on January 21st, 2016

One of the best ways to stay safe and productive on the road is by knowing and planning for any type of weather you may run into.  Our Operations department uses Weather Underground for the morning report and the National Weather Service for specific city alerts. Check out suggestions below for weather resources to help keep yourself informed and ready for anything. Thank you to our professional drivers who provided the recommendations!

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Websites

Safe Travel USA http://www.safetravelusa.com/ has links to the state DOT websites.

Weatherbug http://weather.weatherbug.com

Accuweather http://www.accuweather.com/ 

Weather Channel http://www.weather.com/

Intellicast http://www.intellicast.com/

And we can’t forget the over-the-road go to Long Hauler USA! http://longhauler-usa.com/naweathe.htm

Apps

NOAA Radar USA app

Weatherbug will alert you as you travel through areas

Phone

Call 511 in each state if you do not have access to the internet or apps. Also, your atlas should provide phone numbers by state to call for weather and construction updates.

Television

The Weather Channel and local news can also offer insights.

Earlier this month, one of our professional drivers, Bobby Chilcoat, achieved the career milestone of 3 million accident-free miles.

Bobby joined the company in January of 1991. He also served as a driver trainer and regularly competes in the Missouri State Truck Driving Championship. Last year, he even took first place in the sleeper berth class, earning him a spot in the national finals competition.Bobby Chilcoat Podium Horz

Hank Bartos, president of XPO Logistics’ truckload business, commented: “Bobby has joined an elite group of professional drivers, and his accomplishment sets a high standard for safety excellence. He is one of only four drivers in our truckload operations to achieve 3 million accident-free miles — the equivalent of nearly six round-trips to the moon!”

Keep reading to see our interview with Bobby about his insights on traveling 3 million safe miles, his most memorable times on the road and more.

Q:  How does it feel to drive 3 million miles accident-free?

Bobby: It’s hard to believe. There are no words to describe it, really. You drive out there every day and hitting that milestone never goes through your mind until the last few months when you realize you’re almost there and you do everything possible to stay safe.

Q: Do you have a favorite place you’ve seen over the past 3 million miles?

Bobby: For me, one of the prettiest places is Columbia River Gorge off I-84. I just love – and still love — driving that one. It’s one of the most beautiful sites.

Q: When you joined us – did you think you would reach 3 million miles?

Bobby: That wasn’t even in my vocabulary. I just needed a good job at the time and I always enjoyed traveling. My father-in-law recommended the company to me.

Q: Turnover is significant in this industry – what made you stay here at CFI/Con-way/XPO?

Bobby: I love to travel. The job fits my needs and I enjoy the people here – they’re always try to help me out and I like that.

Q: How would you advise drivers to be as safe as you are?

Bobby: I’m going to go back to one piece of advice my father-in-law always told me — Use your mirrors. Know what’s around you at all times. If you do that, you’ll be able to see the accident that’s trying to find you before it happens.

Q: Is there anything else you want to share about your accomplishment?

Bobby: There isn’t a secret to what I’ve done. If everyone would just slow down, they could do 3 million accident-free miles. Just slow down and pay attention.