Updated December 2019
There are pros and cons to both driving during the day and to driving at night. It is important for every driver to figure out what schedule works for them, but there may be some other factors you need to take into consideration. You need to understand your carrier’s schedule and the Federal Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service Guidelines. For example, if your carrier is a food provider, their trucking is generally done at night and therefore you may not get a say in your schedule.
Additionally, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict guidelines on how long you are allowed to drive between mandatory rest times. These times are set as a daily driving limit of 14 hours, an 11-hour driving limit and the required 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving.
Look at the benefits and factors to consider before picking your schedule:
Benefits of Day Driving
- Greater Visibility
- Services/Businesses consistently available
- No need to adjust sleep cycle
- Keep usual lines of communication open with family
Things to Consider about day driving
- More traffic
- Harder to find parking
- Gas pumps and restaurants are more crowded
Benefits of Night Driving
- Less volume of vehicles
- Minimal delays due to road construction
- The height of the cab avoids compromised night vision from glare of headlights
Things to consider about night driving
- Decreased visibility
- Greater chance of encountering impaired drivers
- Driver fatigue
If you decide to choose night driving and need to restructure your sleep routine, here are a few tips to help you make a smooth transition:
- Nix the stimulants (coffee, cola, spicy food, cigarettes, sugars). These stimulants can stay in your system for up to 4 hours.
- Stay awake an hour or two later than usual each evening, gradually moving bedtime to wake up time. Start this one week to ten days before the needed shift change.
- Unfamiliar surroundings can keep you awake as you hear unusual sounds. Playing soothing music with help lull you to sleep.
- Lights out! Keep your bunk as dark as possible with a black-out curtain.
- Calm down after dinner. Relax. Reading, instead of using technology, can help your brain to shut down so sleep comes easier.
Obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages to both day and night driving. Some people are naturally night owls and others find it very difficult to stay awake at night. Each driver and each situation is different, but the most important rule is to drive when you feel your best. Here at Napier, whether you prefer day or night driving, we can get you on the road to your CDL today.