It is estimated that approximately 100 people die each day from a traffic accident. Although the majority of these deaths are the result of drunk driving or carelessness, a large percentage of automobile deaths are caused by people falling asleep at the wheel. Regardless of driving experience or strength, we should never underestimate the power of sleep. Here are a few tips for helping drivers remain alert, which may decrease the chances of falling asleep while driving.
Get Enough Rest – If your job requires awaking early in the morning, it is important to get enough sleep the night before. Thus, avoid going to bed late, only to rise from bed three or four hours later. Initially, the body may feel well rested. However, once you get behind the wheel, your body may retreat to relax mode. When this happens, the chances of falling asleep while driving are high.
Take Short Breaks – When driving for long periods, it helps to take periodic breaks. No one is expecting you to be a super driver or capable of handing a long road trip without cat naps. If you feel yourself becoming drowsy, pull over at the next rest stop. In some cases, your body and eyes may need a short thirty minute break. If the area is well lit or active, consider a short nap. As a safety precaution, keep all doors locked while sleeping. Also, never pull off on secluded roadways or the highway shoulder.
Share the Driving – Whenever possible, travel with another driver. This way, if you feel the need to rest or take a quick nap, the other driver can continue until your body and eyes have fully rested.
Do Not Skip Meals – When some drivers enter a zone, they may forget to eat or snack on foods. Grab a quick snack every two hours. Although candy is helpful with providing a sudden burst of energy, a meal will provide long term energy. Nonetheless, if you need a quick fix until the next rest area, opt for a candy bar or soda. The caffeine is a sure energy booster, which will help you remain alert.
Avoid Alcohol and Medications – Avoiding alcoholic beverages while driving is a given. However, drivers should also be alert to the dangers of taking certain medications while operating a vehicle.
Know the Signs of Sleepiness – Sometimes, sleepiness goes unrecognized. Key indicators of tired eyes and body include: constant yawning, nodding head, eyestrain, unable to focus, and so forth.