A Key to Safe Driving: Mental Alertness
Jul 18, 2017
I have this weird habit. Sometime when I am driving I count how many times I can clench my teeth between the shadow the of light poles cast by the sun on the interstate. Usually, at 65 mph I can get three. I look for consistently and the spacing of the shadows. I know, it is weird. I think I developed the habit as a way of passing time on long car rides when I was a kid. My mom probably told me to do it so I would quit bugging my siblings and so I would stop asking the question that drives every parent nuts, “Are we there yet?”
Counting shadows can be a bit of a mind-numbing way to pass the time while riding in a car, but it can be deadly while driving the car. Driving, as you know, involves making hundreds of decisions on the fly, often subconsciously. This means that driving requires a brain that is rested, clear and alert. When it is not, accidents can happen, and these accidents carry the chance of becoming even more deadly when they involve semi tractors and fully loaded trailers.
There are numerous things that can distract you as you drive, Things like cellphones, GPS devices. text messaging, eating and reading. All of these activities pull your eyes and attention away from the road. But what if I told you there are some other distracted driving causes that maybe aren’t so obvious.
Have you ever considered how these things can contribute to accidents on the road:
Mental and physical fatigue
Unresolved frustration and anger
Being in a hurry
These things may not be quite as obvious but they are just as deadly. As an owner operator you are responsible for managing more than just a job. You are responsible for managing a large vehicle and heavy freight load in a safe manner with yourself and everyone else on the road in mind. This is a big responsibility and to do this effectively you must be mentally alert at all times.
Make sure you are aware of your mental condition when you drive. Make sure you are well-rested and alert. Take some extra time to resolve anger or stress is a safe way before getting behind the wheel of your rig. And communicate with your dispatch when you are having problems. You want to get home safely to your family, and everyone else on the road wants to get home safely to theirs. Being mentally fresh and alert is the first step in that process.