It may seem obvious that sleep is important to us all, but for HGV and Van drivers, it’s critical.
In the fast-paced world of the transport industry, HGV and Van drivers play a vital role in keeping goods moving efficiently but as a professional driver, their responsibility extends beyond safely delivering cargo to its destination! It also includes looking after their own wellbeing as well as others on the road, and one crucial aspect of this is getting enough quality sleep.
The fact is, driving and working in high-risk environments whilst overtired puts lives at risk and that’s why sleep should always be part of a conversation that you have with your team.
A confidential survey of Road Hauliers and over 4,000 drivers HGV drivers by Unite the Union back in 2018 found that 29 per cent admitted to having fallen asleep at the wheel while driving.
With fatigue being a contributory factor in about 30% of collisions (DfT), this is not something to be ignored by Transport Operators.
How much sleep is crucial?
Most of us need around 7-9 hours of sleep in any 24 hour period. Drivers’ hours are written to ensure that drivers get enough rest to fulfil their driving role and as an Operator it’s up to you to remind them of the importance of this guidance.
Let’s break down the benefits of a good night’s (or days!) sleep for your drivers:
Staying Focused and Maintaining Alertness
- Adequate sleep plays a key role in staying focused as well as maintaining good levels of alertness to make good decisions before problems develop whilst out on the road and working on premises.
Fatigue and sleep deprivation -
Fatigue can impair a driver's ability to plan ahead and make sound judgements to avoid making errors which could lead to collisions.
- Insufficient sleep can slow down thinking and reaction times, making it challenging to avoid hazards by planning well ahead to avoid problems.
Health and Well-being
- Sleep is vital for overall health and well-being. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to various health problems. By prioritising sleep, HGV drivers can reduce the risk of developing additional health problems helping them to remain fit to drive!
Recommendations you can communicate to your drivers
1. If they’re resting ‘at work’ - suggest they park in a safe, secure environment which is quiet enough for a restful sleep.
2. Remind them to block out the light! Especially for these lighter mornings - closing all curtains, considering black out curtains or blinds at home will help drivers improve the quality of their sleep.
3. Make sure they know that comfort and a cooler room temperature is important to getting restful sleep.
Whether you have the ability to get your drivers together or not, if you haven’t already, you can bring sleep awareness into your fitness-to-drive policy and part of your driver training.
Remember a well rested driver is a safer, more effective drive, and showing that your team’s wellness is an important part of your core values can go a long way when it comes to driver retention.
How Road Skills Online can help
Fatigue and Drivers Hours, as well as Health and Wellbeing are two of the Toolbox Talks featured in our industry recognised e-learning professional development programme designed to encourage safety orientated driver behaviour, reminding them of best practices, the law and much more.
If you'd like a copy of our downloadable sleep awareness poster to print out and display on your noticeboard, please just send us an email and we'll get a copy over to you.
Alternatively, for your free demo and more information on how our e-learning will benefit your business click here or give us a call on 01202 923092 and we'll be happy to chat.