Truckers have a dangerous job, partly because they have to do long hauls that can keep them on the road for hours. Because of the nature of the job and the possibility of becoming fatigued, these professional drivers are bound by limits to the number of hours they can drive. In between driving shifts, the trucker must have at least 10 hours off work. But is that truly enough time? Truckers have to take care of hygiene needs, eat and possibly communicate with family members during that short period, so they might get less sleep than what is safe.

The average adult needs to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Truckers average less than five hours each night. Once they do this for two nights in a row, they might have some of the same side effects that are usually associated with alcohol. This means that not getting enough sleep before driving a big rig could be a hazardous event.

There are many other factors that can cause a trucker to feel fatigued. Medical conditions, such as sleep apnea or obesity, might contribute to drowsiness while driving. The same is true of taking medication, using drugs and trying to drive during times when the circadian rhythm says the person should be sleeping.

Unfortunately, others on the road can’t demand that a fatigued trucker take time to get sleep before getting back out on the road. If you are struck by a truck who needs sleep, you might choose to seek compensation to help you pay for medical bills and other related expenses.