It’s normal to get tired while driving, especially during long hauls. Follow these top 10 lifesaving tips to help you avoid driving while you’re drowsy.
10- Know the Symptoms of Drowsiness
Many people who fell asleep while driving and were involved in a car accident say they only felt slightly tired beforehand. Know these symptoms of drowsiness so you can arrive at your destination safely:
- Yawning and having a heavy head
- Blinking long and slowly and having a hard time focusing your eyes
- Feeling irritable
- Having wandering thoughts or not remembering the last couple of miles or signs on the road
- Drifting into another lane, hitting the rumble strip, or accidentally tailgating
9- Keep the Communication Channels Open
During long, lonely drives, take the time to call family or friends. When you are at a rest stop, chat with other travelers and stay active on social media. When you do this, you’ll feel happier and less isolated from others.
8- Provide Yourself With Some Entertainment
Singing to loud music or listening to a suspenseful audiobook will keep your brain active and stimulated.
7- Read the Labels on Your Medications
Check with your doctor to be sure that none of your prescribed or over-the-counter medications have the side effect of increasing drowsiness or decreasing reaction times.
6- Just Say No to Alcohol
Never drink and drive. Even a small amount of alcohol increases your fatigue and makes your reactions slower.
5- Drink Caffeine the Smart Way
Many drivers rely on coffee, energy drinks, and caffeinated sodas to keep them awake while driving. However, keep these following things in mind and plan wisely:
- It takes 30 minutes for the caffeine to reach your blood supply once you’ve had your drink.
- Caffeine only takes the edge off of being tired, it doesn’t actually keep you awake.
- The buzz may wear off much sooner than you anticipate.
- If you drink too much caffeine, you get jittery, nervous, and dizzy.
4- Eat Well
Avoid heavy, greasy foods as much as possible. The cumulative effect on your body is detrimental to your health and you’ll have less energy overall. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will go a long way to keep your body in tip-top shape. While driving, snack on nuts, cheese, and other healthy alternatives to chips and cookies.
3- Increase Your Oxygen
Exercising is a great way to increase your oxygen intake. You’ll feel refreshed and energetic when you take the time to stretch and workout, on the road and off.
Another way to get more oxygen is to roll the windows down for some much needed fresh air while you’re driving.
2- Follow Your Circadian Rhythm
Our bodies follow a biological circadian rhythm and everyone requires sleep for a certain amount of time at certain intervals in a 24-hour period. That’s why most drowsy-driving accidents occur between midnight to 6am and 2pm to 3pm. Do your best to plan your sleeping and naps during these times of day.
The number one way to combat fatigue is by sleeping. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, how many hours of sleep you got the night before, how short of a time you’ve been driving, or if you’re behind schedule. If you feel tired, pull over and get some rest. This is a surefire way to avoid drowsy driving.
If you’re a driver or fleet manager, visit FleetServ to learn more ways to stay safe on the road.