The circadian rhythm is another name for the internal 24-hour clock of every human being.
Most of the time, the internal clock operates in the background of our daily lives. However, the perfect storm of a weary trucker, a dangerous highway and time of day can spell disaster.
About Route 285
U.S. 285 was built in 1926 to help facilitate rural traffic. Today thousands of drivers travel this highway. Though considered the most dangerous in the country, it is a route commercial trucks use to travel to and from West Texas oilfields. The price of oil actually affects the amount of traffic. When the price of oil is higher, oil companies hire more workers and the traffic on U.S. 285 increases, resulting in a greater number of crashes, injuries and fatalities.
Circadian rhythm disorder
When disruption to the body’s 24-hour clock occurs, doctors call it a circadian rhythm disorder. Symptoms include daytime sleepiness, trouble thinking clearly, trouble making decisions and difficulty concentrating. There are lulls in the 24-hour sleep-wake cycle during which driving is more dangerous than at other times. The lulls occur between 2:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon and again between midnight and 6:00 am.
Truckers often drive 11 hours or more at a stretch; it is not unusual for them to drive overnight. As a result, they are on the road during the circadian rhythm lull and find it difficult to fight off fatigue. Many of the crashes on U.S. 285 happen during the early morning hours and victims in smaller vehicles face significant injuries. Paying close attention to driving on a dangerous road and taking extra care around large trucks can help motorists avoid disaster.