5 OTR Trucking Tips to Stay Alert During Long Haul Drives

For heavy-duty truck drivers, long-haul drives are part of the job. Whether you drive long distances all the time or they’re few and far between, staying alert is key for every driver. Trust us, we know. To help, we’ve got 5 truck driving tips for staying alert through mile after mile or more of the same. Read on for helpful OTR trucking tips on how to stay alert on your next long-haul drive.

1. Get a Good Night’s Rest

Like many things, staying alert while on the road starts with a good night’s rest. Go to sleep early and allow your mind and body to rest as much as possible. Sleep in a comfortable bed, do what you can to tune out noises, and use room-darkening curtains if you plan to sleep during the day. When you wake up, leave enough time for everything you need to do before leaving so you won’t be rushed. If you’ll be driving long distances over multiple days, be sure to rest well every night.

2. Eat a Balanced Diet

Eating well before and during your OTR long-haul drive accomplishes several things, including staying healthy and getting the vitamins your body needs. Getting a good mix of protein, vegetables, fruits, and grains will provide your body and brain with lasting stamina. When you need a snack on the road, reach for healthy options like fruits, celery sticks with peanut butter, or almonds. Stay away from sweets and fatty snacks like chips; while they provide a rush of sugar, you’ll only feel more tired once that feeling subsides.

3. Stay Hydrated

One of the best long-haul truck driving tips for staying alert is staying hydrated. Drinking enough water might seem like something you would want to avoid in order to keep you from making frequent bathroom stops, but since water is one of the best things for your body it actually works in your favor. Water and other water-like options with little sugar (think Gatorade, Powerade, and similar drinks) wake your body up and stimulate your brain. While the occasional cup of coffee is ok, avoid drinking large amounts as coffee is a diuretic. Avoid energy drinks, too, as they are full of sugar that will cause you to be more tired later.

4. Get Some Exercise

During your trip, make time for exercise. It’ll keep your brain active, or get it going again if you’re starting to feel tired. Many truck drivers get in some exercise when they stop for fuel or bathroom breaks. Walk around your rig, walk around the rest area or just do some simple stretches to get the blood flowing. Making exercise a regular part of your daily routine when you’re not driving will help, too.

5. Plan Your Trip In Advance

Going from A to B is easy on a short drive, but for long haul drives, there can be a lot more planning involved. Plan your whole truck driving route and then work in fuel and bathroom breaks. If your trip is longer than a day’s drive, plan where you’ll stay the night. Not only does this help with your daily mileage goal, but it also gives you peace of mind in knowing where you’ll rest your head, whether it’s a hotel or the back of your sleeper rig in a safe parking lot.

Following these heavy-duty truck driving tips can keep you alert during long-haul drives. They’re easy to do and, for the most part, don’t take much time or additional energy — but they will greatly impact your ability to stay awake and alert during your trip. Work these into your next long-haul truck driving trip and see how they work for you.

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