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How truckers can fight fatigue behind the wheel

Drowsy driving is something that truckers in California have to contend with, sometimes on a daily basis if they do not achieve long and restful sleep. The following are a few tips that truckers can take to heart the next time they feel themselves becoming sleepy. It all starts with knowing the symptoms of fatigue: continual yawning, heavy eyelids, lapses in memory and so on.

Truckers should try to ensure adequate sleep, but if not, they can pull over for a nap to restore energy levels. Naps should be at least 10 minutes, but 45 minutes is best. Drivers may consider taking their nap during those lulls in the day when the body naturally becomes tired, such as the period between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. They should also avoid traveling any time after midnight.

Is it time to review your car insurance policy?

For many things in life, you and other California residents likely have a set-it-and-forget-it attitude. For example, you know that you need to have automobile insurance, but you may not think about it much beyond paying your premiums when they come due. However, if you do not understand your insurance coverage, you could end up in a difficult predicament if you have a car accident.

Though it may not seem fun to review your car insurance policy, it does not have to take an extended amount of time to do so. You can likely find your policy in an online account with your insurance provider or in hardcopy form that the insurance company sent you in the mail.

U.S. no longer leader in car safety rating systems, says report

Since the 1990s when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed its five-star car safety rating system, there have undoubtedly been improvements in the automotive industry. Automakers have been prompted to build safer vehicles so as to attain a four- or five-star rating from the federal government. However, California residents should know about a report that argues that there is room for improvement in the rating system.

The report, written by a former leader in the NHTSA's crash testing program and published in October 2019, states that the U.S. is lagging behind Europe, Asia and Latin America with regards to its testing. Europe, for instance, performs four times as many crash tests as the U.S. does before rating its vehicles.

Sleep apnea heightens truck accident risk

An estimated 35% of truckers in California and throughout the U.S. suffer from a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. Apnea means "without breath," and it can occur in one of two ways. In central sleep apnea, the brain may fail to send signals to the muscles that control breathing, causing a person to stop breathing. In obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, the relaxing and collapsing of the throat muscles and mouth palate cause the upper airway to be blocked.

Truckers suffer from OSA more often than from central sleep apnea. By fragmenting their sleep, OSA prevents individuals from entering into deep sleep and REM sleep. This is the kind of sleep that one needs to repair physical and mental fatigue. The consequence of this is that individuals will feel sleepy all day. Sleepiness in truckers raises the risk for an accident.

CVSA 72-hour inspection spree scheduled for May 2020

Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts the International Roadcheck, a 72-hour inspection spree of commercial motor vehicles that's meant to enforce federal CMV safety regulations. Truckers in California should know that the 2020 roadcheck has been set for May 5 to 7: a full month earlier than in previous years. The reason has to do with achieving favorable weather conditions for certain jurisdictions.

Apart from the earlier date, there will be nothing too different in the 2020 spree. Most inspections will be Level I inspections, which are 37-point inspections and the most comprehensive type. For the truck inspection, inspectors will check the braking system, fuel system, tires, suspension, steering, lights and more.

A dislocated shoulder can have serious complications

Many people do not realize how much they use certain parts of their body until they cannot. For example, reaching for objects and generally moving your arm may seem like an involuntary movement because it is so natural. However, after a car accident dislocated your shoulder, you understood how difficult things can become when you cannot move your arm.

Some people may not think that a dislocated shoulder is a serious injury. After all, it is a relatively common injury because the shoulder moves more than any other part of the body. However, dislocation due to a traumatic event, like a car accident, can lead to complications.

FMCSA's new study on large-truck crash causation announced

California big rig drivers should know that the number of fatal crashes in their industry has gone up over the years. There was a 52.6% increase in fatal large-truck crashes from 2009 to 2018 with the latter year seeing a total of 4,415 such incidents. Various factors explain this rise, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is planning to conduct a study on them. It made the formal proposal in January 2020.

The FMCSA sent Congress the results of its last large-truck crash causation study in 2006, so an update is clearly necessary. Researchers will be looking into the impact that phone use, especially calling and texting, has had on truckers. Driver behavior has also been influenced by the presence of in-cab navigation systems and fleet management systems.

Injuries from a motorcycle accident can need extensive treatment

Though you enjoy riding your motorcycle whenever possible, you knew that you faced the risk of being involved in an accident. Anyone operating any type of motor vehicle faces this risk, but motorcyclists like you face a more significant chance of suffering serious injuries in the event of a crash.

You may have considered yourself lucky for years because you went without an accident. Unfortunately, your luck recently changed, and another driver caused an accident that left you with serious injuries. Though you feel grateful that you survived the incident, you may still have a difficult time ahead as you work to recover from the injuries.

New law lets bicyclists go straight in turn lane

Bicyclists in California are allowed to travel straight from a right or left-turn lane, thanks to a bill that was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 4. AB 1266 was aimed at helping bicyclists stay safer at busy intersections by allowing them to proceed straight without the need to change lanes.

Bicyclists traveling in busy areas sometimes encounter bike lanes that end right before an intersection and become a right- or left-turn lane. Before AB 1266, bicyclists that wanted to go straight through these intersections had to change lanes to enter the go-straight lane. Once they were through the intersection, they then had to change lanes again in order to get back into the bike lane.

Safety systems in newer vehicles may cause distractions

California residents may be interested in learning about a study showing that some of the systems that are designed to make cars safer are actually leading to distracted driving and potentially putting drivers in danger. Popular features like adaptive cruise control may cause drivers to drop their guard while driving.

These technologies were designed to help make people safer. However, they can cause some drivers to put too much trust in the system according to studies released by the AAA Foundation. Part of the problem may stem from the fact that drivers do not thoroughly understand automation systems. They may put too much faith in the systems, believing that the technology can take the place of a human driver.

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