Sooner or later, everyone gets tired while driving.
A car, a truck. It doesn’t matter really.
We all know the symptoms, and we all know the disastrous ramifications of ignoring those symptoms once too often. Tiredness, fatigue, just ‘noddy’ or ‘doughy’; whatever you want to call it, it can kill in the blink of an eye. And its presence is certainly not limited to the wee small hours in the dead of night.
These days there are signs on all major highways warning of the need to take a break and for car drivers it’s not particularly difficult to find somewhere to pull off the side of the road and close the shutters for a while.
It’s not quite so easy for truck drivers, particularly these days with the proliferation of B-doubles and the extra space they require. And strangely, the difficulty of finding a practical, safe spot to grab a ‘powernap’ when tiredness hits increases markedly the closer a combination gets to a major city.
Consider, for instance, the driver who’s just an hour or two from Melbourne after leaving Brisbane the day before. Understandably, he’s probably a bit weary. It’s mid-afternoon and the sun is streaming into the cab as he leaves Shepparton behind and hits the monotony of the freeway. He has plenty of time left in his logbook but then tiredness strikes. It doesn’t take long for his eyelids to feel like they’re made of lead. His concentration wanes, and he knows it.
He sees the signs telling him to take a powernap. ‘Good idea,’ he thinks. ‘I only need 20 minutes and I’ll be right.’
But where? He drives on, seeing more signs to take a powernap, but he knows the only dedicated area able to take a B-double is still 15 or 20 kilometres away.
Meanwhile, his eyes get heavier, his concentration drifts further afield.
Relief is close. Hopefully, it’ll be close enough.
Source: Leading independent industry journalist.