We’ve all experienced the irresistible urge to close our eyes and let sleep take over, but when you’re behind the wheel, it’s not only enticing but downright terrifying! A huge number of car accidents, injuries and deaths on the road are directly caused by drivers failing to stay awake and remain alert behind the wheel – click here if you’ve been involved in a road accident involving a motorcycle.
And if you’re preparing to drive a long distance – whether for a road trip, holiday or even for work – then the idea of keeping yourself awake and alert whilst driving is concerning, to say the least.
To give you reassurance and guidance, I’ve gathered some straightforward tips for keeping yourself awake whilst driving long distances.
Plan your breaks (and stick to them)
Plan to take breaks for every couple of hours you’re driving on the road. When you’re planning your route, ensure that these stops are marked and that you stick to your plan. You’ll have time to take a break from concentrating and then return to the wheel refreshed, reset and ready to continue.
Plan to stay overnight
If possible, include an overnight stay in your plans, to ensure that you’re fully refreshed behind the wheel. If you’re travelling with kids, then they’ll love the added adventure of staying overnight somewhere different. And you’ll all be ready to hit the road again in the morning.
Starting to feel tired? Pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. You could take a quick nap in the car, or simply get out and stretch your legs and your body to wake yourself up.
Drink caffeine (but not too much)
It’s much better to drink a little coffee at a time rather than huge cups before a journey, otherwise, you’re at risk of a post-caffeine slump, which ironically will make you even more tired.
Avoid heavy meals
Stopping off at a roadside café and enjoying a big breakfast or lunch will certainly set you up for the day, but a heavy meal will also leave you feeling sluggish and promote the desire to sleep. Keep your meals light and opt for healthier options. The same applies to your car snacks!
Crack the window
A nice warm interior, soft music and the low rumble of the tarmac beneath you can be enough for anyone to nod off. Keep yourself alert by cracking the window and giving yourself a supply of fresh air. If sleepiness persists, then pull over.