There’s been a lot of debate in recent years over the benefits and downfalls of daylight saving time (DST) in the U.S. On one hand, DST includes longer daylight hours which promotes outdoor activities and is beneficial for the economy. On the other hand, it affects our sleep patterns, and some studies have found that it may cause an increase in accidents on the road.
Ultimately, DST affects us all, including professional truck drivers. So how does this affect professional drivers?
- Sleep disruption: The meddling with sleep routines is among daylight saving time’s most significant effects on professional truck drivers. It can affect alertness, concentration and response time on the road. To avoid fatigue and mitigate the impacts of DST, drivers should change their sleep schedule to account for the lost hour of rest.
- Scheduling challenges: Truck drivers may experience scheduling difficulties due to daylight saving time, especially when transporting time-sensitive cargo. For instance, to comply with federal rules, drivers may need to alter their route or take more breaks if the time shift causes them to lose an hour of driving time. To minimize this impact, drivers should strategize beforehand with their team.
- Impact on mental health: Daylight saving time can also affect a professional driver’s mental health, making them feel more isolated or homesick, especially for those with longer routes that keep them on the road for long periods. Those who are struggling with mental health should reach out to their professional and personal support systems.
- Fuel consumption and emissions: Daylight saving time can also impact fuel use and emissions. For example, a driver may need to use their headlights more frequently if there is an hour less of sunshine, which can deplete their battery and raise their fuel usage. When possible, drivers should alter their routes to take this into account.
Fortunately, there’s been a lot of research demonstrating the impacts of daylight saving time, and we understand its effect on drivers and the subsequent harm it may cause. Although it’s likely DST won’t be disappearing any time soon, drivers can work with their teams to come up with plans to help mitigate its impact as much as possible. Awareness can go a long way to helping decrease the effects of daylight savings time and help ensure that drivers can drive safely and efficiently.