Continual drowsiness is something that many truckers in Pennsylvania are no doubt familiar with. Truckers should be vigilant in preventing it, though, because according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, driver fatigue is a leading cause in the nearly 4,000 truck crash fatalities that are reported each year.

The only long-term way to combat drowsiness is adequate sleep. While it may not be possible for truckers to sleep an unbroken six to eight hours, they should make up for this by scheduling naps in between. Naps lower the risk for a crash by enhancing one’s alertness and ability to make correct judgments.

The next two tips are related: Eat healthy and cut down on alcohol and caffeine consumption. After a short “sugar rush,” a driver may be left feeling more tired than before. Tuna and chicken sandwiches and bagels are preferable to hamburgers or donuts for their nutrients. As for caffeine and alcohol, these cause fatigue in the long run.

Fourth, truckers should substitute sugared drinks for plain water. The CDC says that drinking water helps regulate body temperature, cushions the joints and contributes in other ways to physical health. Lastly, drivers should consider how the environment of the truck cab can lead to poorer health. A seat suspension system could prevent back pain and fight fatigue.

When truck collisions are the fault of a drowsy truck driver, then victims may wonder if they can file a claim against the trucking company. Chances are they can unless the driver was an independent owner-operator, in which case the insurance company could face the claim. There are personal injury laws to take into account, though, and victims may need a lawyer to help apply them to the case. The lawyer may take on all negotiations as well.