Sleep apnea is an extremely common condition that can leave you with significant daytime drowsiness. One of the risks of having sleep apnea is slow reaction time, which can increase the risk of accidents. This fact leaves many aspiring truck drivers wondering if their sleep apnea diagnosis will keep them off the road. If you have sleep apnea and are considering becoming a truck driver, here is what you need to know.
Sleep Apnea 101
Sleep apnea occurs when breathing is disrupted during sleep. Usually, this occurs when the throat presses on the airway and prevents oxygen from getting through. When this happens, the sufferer will usually wake up, gasp for air, and fall back to sleep. These episodes can happen hundreds of time per night, and often, the sufferer doesn’t even know that they are happening because they happen so fast. However, sufferers do experience crippling daytime drowsiness. Other symptoms include headaches in the morning, irritability, and frequent nightmares. When sleep apnea isn’t treated, it can become life threatening.
Sleep Apnea and Driving
There are two risks for drivers who have sleep apnea. One is falling asleep behind the wheel. The other is becoming less attentive while driving because of fatigue. Attentiveness can be the more dangerous of these issues. You may know when you are about to fall asleep and have the foresight to pull over, but you may not realize when you have become dangerously inattentive.
Driving a Truck with Sleep Apnea
Despite these risks, sleep apnea does not disqualify you from becoming a driver. Although a diagnosis may prevent you from being medically qualified to operate interstate under Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines, once you get treatment, you are likely to be cleared to drive. In fact, almost one-third of drivers have sleep apnea.
At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, we have the classes you need to jumpstart your new career as a truck driver. Call our truck driving school in Phoenix today at (877) 295-5372 for more information about becoming a student.