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Some warning signs of driver fatigue

Most drivers recognize that driving a vehicle when one is too tired is an unwise and often dangerous thing to do. It is all the more true that a truck driver should only drive when he or she has had enough rest, as a drowsy truck driver can inflict a lot more damage than would a drowsy passenger car driver.

Unfortunately, and even with federal rules in place about how long a trucker must take a break, there is pressure in many corners of the trucking industry for drivers to keep moving, even if doing so means traveling on very little or no sleep.

However, business pressures aside, it is imperative that truck drivers and their employers prevent drowsy driving, and one way of doing so is by understanding the warning signs of drowsiness. It also helps for private motorists to understand the warning signs as well, not only for their own benefit, but in case they are involved in an accident with a trucker who is overly tired.

Most warning signs involve the driver himself. For example, a driver who catches himself drifting off in to other thoughts, missing common road signs or having a hard time remembering what happened even a few miles back may be getting too drowsy to drive. Irritableness, frequent yawning and the urge to rub one's eyes are also warning signs of driver fatigue. Many people also blink frequently when tired, and some may even dangerously start to drift off behind the wheel.

However, some signs of drowsiness can be observed by other drivers. For example, a truck driver who is too tired to drive may slowly drift out of her lane or hit the rumble strips on the edges of the road. Truckers may also follow too closely and may even start to exhibit the behavior one would expect of a drunk or drugged driver.

While it may be wise for other drivers to be vigilant, ultimately the responsibility for the damage inflicted by a too-tired truck driver must rest with the truck driver, the trucking company and other responsible parties.

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