Are you a commercial truck driver in Nebraska whose greedy employer pushes you to work extended hours to meet unreasonable deadlines to make more profits? While this practice may put more money in the pockets of both your boss and yourself, it also puts you in harm's way. Too many hours of driving a big rig can cause fatigue. Unfortunately, this can lead to trucking accidents, which can cause severe injuries or death.
How can you attempt to avoid fatigue?
Along with too little sleep, extended hours, strenuous labor such as loading and unloading heavy items and combinations of more factors can result in fatigued truck drivers. You may be able to take some of the following measures in order to avoid becoming overly fatigued while on the job:
- Listen to your internal clock: Your body has a wake and sleep cycle -- circadian rhythm -- that causes natural drowsiness between certain hours. Typically, drowsiness occurs between midnight and 6 a.m., and again between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. During these times, and any other moments when you become drowsy, certain performance tasks can be impaired. It can affect your short-term memory, reaction time, cognitive functioning and vigilance, and you might find it difficult to resist sleep. Researchers say the first hour after waking up is a high-risk period.
- Watch your diet: The nature of you job may make it difficult to eat regular, healthy meals. Lying down to sleep after eating a heavy meal or on an empty stomach can affect the quality of rest you get. Sleeping after eating a light snack will bring restful sleep that can help you avoid fatigue, reduced attention, slow reaction, memory lapse and more.
- Take a power nap: If you feel drowsy at any time, pull off the road at a safe place and have a nap. Short naps can restore energy levels and maintain performance levels. A 45-minute nap is best, but even a 10-minute power nap can be effective. However, you will need at least 15 minutes after a nap to make sure you are fully awake before resuming your trip.
- Check your medication: Medication labels typically contain warnings if they can lead to drowsiness. Driving while on medication can be deadly. Watch out for cold medicines, tranquilizers, allergy medication and sleeping pills.
- Recognize danger signals: Your body will warn you if fatigue starts setting in. Telltale signs include blurred vision, frequent yawning and heavy eyes. A surprising fact is that the effects of no sleep for 18 hours are similar to those of a blood alcohol level of .08 percent -- the legal limit for intoxication and a crash risk.
If you are suffering the consequences of an on-the-job commercial vehicle accident, you will be entitled to workers' compensation benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. However, if the crash occurred because your employer pushed you to drive for extended hours while fatigued, you might have a viable third party claim against him or her.
Workplace injury victims can only pursue claims against their bosses if extreme negligence can be proved, and retaining the services of an experienced Omaha workers' compensation attorney may be your most ideal approach. If such a claim is viable and successfully presented by a skilled attorney, the court might award additional compensation such as pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment and more.