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Holiday fatigue and accidents: How to avoid being a statistic

Increasingly, Christmas cheer is being brought to our doorsteps by deliverymen.

The Post Office, for example, expects to handle roughly 750 million packages. Add in what UPS, FedEx and other delivery services are carrying, and that amounts to one thing: a lot of tired truckers.

There are more people at risk than you imagine

Unfortunately, it isn't just the truck drivers on the highways that you need to be concerned about. All those extra packages make for a lot of extra work from start to finish, so truck drivers and those who operate heavy equipment will also be feeling the fatigue:

  • Delivery workers may be rushing from address to address and not paying enough attention to the road.
  • Workers operating forklifts and loading and unloading shipments may be exhausted and unable to concentrate.
  • Truckers may be tempted to cheat on their mandatory sleep hours in order to make deadlines and demands from higher up.

Not only are these individuals at risk from holiday fatigue, so is everyone around them.

You can avoid being a holiday statistic by getting adequate rest

There are two things that you can do to try to avoid becoming another victim of an accident caused by your own fatigue or someone else's during this holiday season:

  1. Obey your body's signals to get more sleep -- make it a priority!
  2. If you sense that someone else is too tired to be driving or operating a piece of large machinery, speak up.

It can be rough to turn down holiday hours when you want to make a little extra for gifts or bills, and the pressure to help your boss make deadlines can be fierce -- but you won't help anyone if you're in the hospital recovering from an accident caused by sleep deprivation.

Similarly, if you see a co-worker nodding off, drop a word to a manager. If you're feeling good, you could even offer to cover part of your co-worker's shift while he or she catches a little sleep.

Keep in mind that experts believe that fatigue is a major factor in 30 percent of fatal accidents involving trucks and heavy machinery -- so the life you save may just be your own.

If you are injured in a fatigue-related trucking accident, an attorney can talk to you about your right to compensation.

Source: OPTALERT, "Fatigue Is A Major Cause In Truck Crashes," Chris Hocking, accessed Nov. 08, 2017

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