It can be tough to stay alert while driving long distances. One minute you think you’re on top of it, the next minute your eyes start to close. It’s important to your safety to stay awake and alert while driving. We have a few ways to combat drowsiness at the wheel.
Many drivers don’t even know they’re so sleepy that they’re going into a new stage. This stage is called microsleep. During microsleepy, you might nod off for only a few seconds. Your seconds can cause a crash. If you fall asleep for five seconds traveling 55 mph, you’ve traveled 135 yards with your eyes closed. It’s a scary thought.
Turn Up The Music
Dancing and singing along to your favorite tunes will help you stay alert. Turn up the volume and have some fun. You can sing along to stimulate your brain. Put on some fast dance music so you can pump yourself up for the road. You can find some fun radio stations to switch from your own music as well.
Avoid Natural Sleepy Times
Drive during the time your body is normally awake and alert. Your body’s biological low points are not good times to plan a road trip. Your circadian rhythm sets these points with your sleep patterns. This is usually between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. It isn’t worth the trouble to try to drive during the night to get away from traffic if you’re falling asleep the entire drive.
It’s imperative to take breaks during a road trip. This gives you time to stretch your legs and wake up your mind. Get out of your car and do something. You can take a walk in fresh air. You can boost the supply of oxygen by just stretching. Find neat things to look at along the drive. Get out and take photos. Stop at convenience stores, museums, shops, and scenic overlooks along the drive.
Eating the right type of food affects your drowsy levels. It isn’t good to drive hungry or with a full stomach. You want to feel comfortable while driving. Eat light snacks along the way. Eat things that give you an energy boost without weighing you down. If you eat heavy foods, you may feel even more sleepy. Always make sure to hydrate as well. Drink things that keep you focused. Drink lots of water for the best effect. Sugar will pump you up for a little bit, but you may have a mental crash. Try to stick with healthy snacks in the car.
Caffeine is one of the best stimulants to keep you alert while driving. Get a big cup of coffee or a soda before you get on the road. If you just drink one cup of coffee, it can help reduce drowsiness levels. Caffeine gives you a little boost to you won’t let your eyes start to droop.
Drive With A Friend
A friend makes a long trip much better. They’ll be able to keep you company, dance along with you and nudge you if you start to seem sleepy. You can also switch off driving so no one gets too sleepy behind the wheel. Long-haul drivers often do this because it’s hard for them to drive 12 hours a day alone.
Take A Nap
If you can get a nap before you hit the road, you’ll be better rested behind the wheel. If you can’t, then pull over and get a quick power nap. You need to refresh at times. Whatever you do, don’t keep driving if you feel drowsy. Even a short nap will help your mental awareness making you better prepared for the rest of your drive.
Know When You’re Sleepy
Sometimes your mind is too tired to get behind the wheel. There are ways to know if your body is sleepy: when you frequently yawn, your mind wanders, your eyelids feel heavy, your head tilts, you drift along the road, and/or you drive erratically. Know these signs, and get off the road when you first start to experience one of them.
Don’t ever speed in a vehicle. Even if you’re tired and trying to get somewhere faster so you don’t get even more sleepy, just stop. If you rush, you’re only endangering the people on the road around you, and those in the car with you.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
Alcohol is off limits when you’re behind the wheel. Even a small amount of alcohol can enhance your drowsiness. Alcohol impairs all parts of your brain. If you stop on your trip for a bite to eat, don’t get an alcoholic beverage as it might impair your driving.
A driving school is a great place to learn these tips and tricks. Staying alert is imperative to your safety behind the wheel. You could save your life along with the other drivers on the road. If you do happen to be the victim of a car accident, it’s good advice to contact a car accident lawyer to help you better understand your options and to help you deal with insurance companies.