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How to Reduce Truck Driver Fatigue on the Road.

How to Reduce Truck Driver Fatigue on the Road

Often called the ‘hidden killer’, unmanaged truck driver fatigue contributes to at least 12% of all motor vehicle crashes in New Zealand. Loss of alertness brought about by fatigue results in poor judgement, impaired reaction speed, and reduced driving skills, which can cause fatal mistakes.

Although the employer is primarily responsible for maintaining a safe and healthy workspace and performing regular truck maintenance services, truck drivers are also responsible for managing their lifestyle in a way that renders them safe to drive. Both must take significant care to manage work schedules and road activities safely. Below, we discuss how to reduce truck driver fatigue so businesses can boost morale and drivers can stay safe and motivated while on the road.


Causes of Fatigue

  • Disruptions to your body clock from working irregular hours
  • Getting less or poorer sleep than normal
  • Working long or extended hours without sufficient rest time
  • General health issues
  • Environmental stresses

While the presence of a single factor can be a significant cause of fatigue, the combination of multiple factors can cause fatigue levels to surge immensely.

Tips for Drivers to Reduce Truck Driver Fatigue

Temporary methods such as caffeine-laced stimulants like coffee and energy drinks or napping should not be relied on constantly as their benefits do not last long before fatigue symptoms return.


Spending long hours alone can be lonely and boring, increasing your frequency and need for sleep. Having a friend or family member with you on the trip or speaking to them over the phone can provide ample stimulation and help pass the time. It will also be easier for someone else to notice the symptoms of fatigue, and they can advise you to pull over and rest.

Eat Healthy

Fast food may be the easiest to grab and eat on the road, but it will not provide enough nutrients or energy for a long trip. Take care to choose healthier food options and keep a regular eating schedule. Snacks like nuts or protein bars are a great way to keep your energy levels up and stay awake between meals.

Dehydration is related to headaches and drowsiness. Take enough water to stay alert and limit excessive caffeine consumption.

Get Sufficient Sleep

A typical person requires an average of 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night in 24 hours to be sufficiently rested. Regular disruptions to a driver’s body clock cycle due to inadequate or poor sleep can accumulate and lead to sleep debt, the only solution being sufficient, good-quality sleep for a minimum of two nights. Power naps may be taken occasionally for short-term relief of fatigue symptoms but should not be relied on as a prevention method.

Tips for Businesses to Reduce Truck Driver Fatigue

Employer recognition and implementation of fatigue prevention measures are incredibly important in combating this crisis. Management must identify fatigue hazards at regular intervals, such as schedules, work and rest patterns, and physically or mentally demanding driving requirements. Driver health must be monitored regularly as well.

Eliminate or reduce risks by alternating routes or replacing fatigued drivers with substitutes. Plan trips to include long rests and breaks between shifts for all employees. Regular and consistent rosters allow drivers to plan their schedules and prevent fatigue-inducing situations.

Drive Safe, Drive Smooth

William Gill & Sons have been in New Zealand’s transport industry for over 70 years, making us the experts on trucking solutions suited to New Zealand roads. We specialise in providing quality ranges of trucks, truck parts, and maintenance services like 24-hour breakdown assistance. Our trucks feature ergonomic vehicle cabins, which are easy to use and access.

We cannot overstate the importance of a comfortable truck cabin, and an appropriate work environment is crucial to reduce stress and other risks associated with driver fatigue. Contact our team for more information on how our trucks can work for you and your business today!