Generally, lack of sleep and driver fatigue is one of the largest causes of traffic accidents. It is common to feel tired when driving long distances, especially at night. Before a long drive, as a driver, you need to stay awake and get more energized. On the road, drink one or two cup coffee and have small, healthy snacks that can be the best option. Also, you can do things like listen to music or radio shows to stay alert. You must take rest if you feel drowsy and unable to drive.
Recognize the signs that you’re too tired to drive:
If you’re too tired to drive safely then stop driving for a while and take a nap. It can be extremely dangerous and can lead to accidents driving in sleep. If you notice any of the following sign, it means you are too tired to drive:
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, and heavy eyelids
- Difficulty keeping your head up
- feeling restless and irritable
- Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
- Frequent daydreaming
- Missing traffic lines, drifting into other lanes, tailgating
So, what can you do to stay alert behind the wheel? Here are ten helpful tips for staying awake when you have no choice but to drive on limited sleep:
Don’t get too exhausted and take a nap.
If you feel tired take 20 to 30 minutes nap give your body a boost for the long trip ahead. Studies have shown that even if you sleep for less than an hour, it will give you crucial rest that needs to help you stay awake into the night. Don’t resist your body’s natural urge to rest.
Eat healthy food
As a driver you should avoid fast food, it contains fat and sugar that will increase your chances of becoming sleepy. Usually, drivers fill up on coffee; energy drinks and fast food that make them feel more sluggish. Trucking companies recommend their drivers to take energy food that consists of complex carbohydrates and protein, which will give them long-lasting stamina. But in the long haul, they should eat a meal with plenty of vegetables and protein-rich food.
Stay hydrated with H2O
Drinking plenty of water is a good idea as it can reduce your chances of fatigue. When you take frequent breaks, dehydration causes fatigue. While excess coffee or energy drinks provide a caffeine buzz, drinking plenty of cold water keeps the body temperature cool and prevents drivers from feeling sluggish behind the wheel.
Take regular breaks:
One of the most important driving tips for long-distance is to make sure you take regular breaks. Park up, relax and leave your vehicle. A short walk in the fresh air not only increases your ability to concentrate but also boosts the supply of oxygen into your bloodstream.
Medication and medical conditions:
Some medications can cause drowsiness. If you’re on any medication, read the label carefully if a medication causes drowsiness, it may not be safe to use while driving. If you have a medication you need to take regularly that can cause lethargy, so, talk to your doctor about how to manage driving while taking the medication. Besides, if you really need the pills, you can take them when you arrive at your destination.
Listening music make you energize
Listen to music is a great idea as it makes you more energized and helps you stay alert. But loud music can distract you and can cause you to zone out. Instead, try listening to things like books on tapes, podcasts, and radio shows are the best way to stay alert.
Evidence shows that chewing gum can help the brain stay active, keep the mind awake and even boost the heart rate. This will keep your mouth busy as well. Pick up a couple of packs of chewing gum for a long trip. If you start to feel sleepy, chew some gum. Make sure to select sugar-free gum. Sugary gum can cause a sugar crash, leaving you feeling more tired.
Drive with buddy
This is a very common strategy used by long hauls especially people who drive 12 to 14 hours. If you have someone accompany with whom you can talk with that person while driving. It would be a good idea to stay awake and you cannot feel boredom throughout the journey.
Have some caffeine
Caffeine is the world’s most popular stimulant. Just one cup of coffee can help reduce the effects of sleep deprivation, but excess coffee makes you more sluggish. Instead of coffee, you can take green tea as well.
Select the right time to drive
Start driving, drive when you feel most energetic. You should pay attention to your natural energy spikes and dips throughout the day, and plan to drive when you feel more energetic. For example, you feel energetic around 9 AM; plan to drive around that time of day.
Hopefully, the above tips can keep you awake and alert on the road during driving and get you to your destination safely. Drowsy driving can also lead to reckless driving charges, which can create more legal troubles. Trucking companies in California suggest that you choose safety for yourself and others on the road with you and get the sleep you need before operating or continuing to operate a vehicle.