Trucker Tips For Night Driving

Mar 7, 2016

Aim your headlights correctly

The headlights on your truck are often pointed unevenly or lower or higher than necessary. With a little do-it-yourself adjustment, truck drivers can better light the way. Be careful not to point headlights right into oncoming traffic, and if you need to, read the manual to be sure you’ve figured it out correctly.

Don’t look directly into the light

Take care not to look directly into the headlights of oncoming traffic. Truck drivers have a unique situation that puts them on the road longer than most other travelers and prolonged exposure to this type of glare can temporarily affect vision. Bright light can cause a temporary distortion of the retina and delay your reaction time. You could effectively become a deer in the headlights.

Instead, keep your eyes moving or look down and to the right to avoid direct contact with the light. As long as you can see the edge of your lane and the painted white line, your truck should be fine while your vision adjusts to the passing lights. Rested eyes will also help you deal with this issue.

Keep a clean windshield and new blades

A dirty windshield can limit a truck driver’s visibility. Dirt, insects, and more can block your view and catch reflections where you don’t want them. When you can, clean the outside of your windshield, but don’t forget about the inside, too. Sneezes, dust, and dirt can build up over time inside as well making nighttime driving especially dangerous.

According to AAA, the average driver only replaces their wiper blades every three years, so don’t wait until it’s too late. Change your windshield wiper blades regularly and you’ll smear less dirt and grime, and you’ll prevent last minute vision loss due to splitting.

The right amount of rest

A good night’s sleep is important for all of us, but for truck drivers, the right amount of rest is necessary for driver safety. It all begins with following laws and guidelines on rest, but there are a few ways to maximize the quality of each rest period. Start with blocking out distractions like light and noise. A white noise machine or earplugs can help. Keep your sleeping area or cab cool and you’ll regulate sleep better. Consider a new mattress or pillows if you can’t quite get comfortable.

Before you go to sleep, put down the smartphone, computer, or electronic devices. Cut down on spicy foods, caffeine, liquids, and nicotine before bed. According to the CDC, these things are distracting and affect your body, preventing a rejuvenating sleep. A well-rested driver will be a better nighttime driver.

Say no to distracted driving

Lastly, you owe it to others any time of day to refrain from distracted driving. Evenings are often a time for families to catch up with one another on the phone or via text. Many truck drivers check in with friends or loved ones on social media but don’t give in to temptation while on the road. Use your smartphone when you’re on a break or having dinner at a rest stop. Thank you for your caution when it comes to nighttime driving and over the road safety!