We’ve all had to drive on long trips or hit the road after a long night with little sleep. While this can make driving seem like a chore, it can also make it dangerous. Your drowsiness can increase your reaction time, decrease your awareness, and make it difficult for you to do something as simple as stay in your lane. This not only puts you in danger, but it also puts other motorists at risk of harm.
That’s why this week on the blog we wanted to give you some ideas on how to avoid getting tired when behind the wheel so that you can stay alert and safe. Let’s jump right in:
- Don’t drive alone: If you suspect that you’re going to get tired while driving, it’s a good idea to have a companion with you to help keep you awake and alert. This is an especially good idea on long road trips or if you’re a trucker who has to put in long hours on the road.
- Make sure you get enough sleep: If you want to protect yourself from falling asleep behind the wheel, then you need to make sure you get enough sleep the night before hitting the road. You should aim for at least eight hours of sleep, as anything less could increase your risk of nodding off while driving.
- Plan a good start time: When figuring out when to start your trip, you should consider when your body is accustomed to relaxing and falling asleep. For example, if your normal bedtime is 10:00 p.m., it probably isn’t a good idea to start a five-hour drive at 9:00 p.m. You’ll remain alert better if you start your trip while you’re still fresh.
- Take breaks: Highway hypnosis is real. As you drive on long stretches of road with nothing much to look at and nothing to listen to but the hum of your tires on the road, you can easily be lulled into a drowsy state. By taking breaks every two hours, though, you can break the monotony and ensure that you’re keeping your awareness.
- Drink caffeine: Drinks containing caffeine, like coffee, can help you stay awake and alert. So, it might be a good idea to stop at your favorite coffee shop or a gas station to pick up something that will give you the extra perk up that you need to stay attentive.
- Maintain a proper posture: It’s easy to start slouching when you’re driving over significant distances. This can make you sleepier, thereby increasing the chances that you’ll lose focus on the road and engage in driving behaviors that are risky and dangerous.
How to tell if your tiredness is affecting your driving
We hope that you’re able to implement some of these tips to help keep yourself safe while you’re driving, especially if you experience:
- Trouble remembering the last several miles that you drove
- You have wondering thoughts while behind the wheel
- You have trouble keeping your eyes focused
- You struggle to keep your eyes open
- Your head starts to nod
- You have trouble staying in your lane
- You find yourself yawning excessively
We know that sometimes it’s hard to even be aware of these signs of tiredness. But we also hope that by reading this blog post you’ll be more cognizant of the issue and how to protect yourself and others. In the end, if you find yourself too tired or the steps mentioned above are insufficient to keep you alert, then it’s best to avoid driving altogether until you can rest up and refresh.
If you find yourself injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver, then please consider reaching out to a legal professional to learn about the steps you can take to find accountability and recover compensation.