It is virtually impossible to drive in the Twin Cities without passing at least one commercial vehicle, as the area is a confluence of major interstate highways. Because semitrucks outweigh your vehicle by several tons, a collision with one may leave you or your passengers with life-altering injuries.
Along with other factors, a trucker’s poor health may be partly to blame for an accident. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that truckers have higher rates of diabetes, hypertension and obesity than the population at large. While these medical conditions may contribute to a collision, a trucker’s smoking habits may also put you at risk.
Smoking may increase alertness
Because long-haul truck drivers must meet tight pickup and delivery deadlines, they often work extended hours. While federal regulations place limits on how long drivers may spend on the road, many truckers rely on nicotine to stay awake and remain alert. Nicotine, of course, is the active ingredient in cigarettes.
Smoking does not replace rest
While smoking cigarettes may help a commercial driver keep his or her eyes open, it is no substitute for rest. A nicotine buzz may trick a trucker into believing he or she can still drive safely. Sleep deprivation, though, is a common cause of motor vehicle accidents.
Without sufficient rest, a sleepy driver may have slowed reflexes and concentration difficulties. Instead of reaching for a cigarette to replace sleep, safe truck drivers should sleep for more than seven hours each night, increase physical activity and drink more water.