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You’ll learn a lot about professional driving by enrolling in truck driving school in Portland, but at the end of the day it’s ultimately your responsibility to be a safe and responsible driver. Although driver safety is one of the focuses of any CDL training program, the only person making sure you are safe behind the wheel is you. One of your biggest responsibilities as a professional driver is staying alert and avoiding distractions. Long-distance driving can be physically and mentally taxing, but there are some easy things you can do to make sure you stay alert and stay safe.

Get Plenty of Rest

It might seem obvious, but one of the best ways you can remain alert while you drive is to get plenty of rest the night before you hit the road. To help you feel rested and refreshed in the morning, try to avoid consuming caffeine three to four hours before bedtime and don’t eat a large meal before you go to sleep (both can make it harder to fall asleep and sleep soundly through the night).

Stretch and Exercise

You may think that physical activity is a fast track to feeling tired, but studies actually show that staying moderately active can actually increase energy levels throughout the day. There are plenty of opportunities to move around and get your heart rate up and blood flowing throughout the day, such as when you stop to fill up or pull over at a rest stop to use the restroom. Even just a few dozen jumping jacks is enough to help keep you alert throughout the day.

Avoid Distractions

Staying alert doesn’t just mean staying awake, but being aware to your surroundings and knowing exactly what’s going on in the road ahead, beside, and behind you at all times. To remain alert behind the wheel, avoid using a cellphone, searching through a CD case, playing with the radio, or anything else that requires you to take your eyes and attention off the road.