Driving when tired may seem like a normal part of life for many of us, especially if you’re a driver by profession or drive to work daily. However, becoming a conscious driver begins with being aware, which means you must control drowsy driving.
Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood of a crash by either slowing response time, decreasing awareness, or affecting judgment skills. According to the Barnes Firm, a car accident lawyer in NYC, car crashes commonly lead to head injuries, broken bones, paralysis, burns, and even fatalities. So, whenever you get in your car to go anywhere, stop and think, “Am I conscious enough to drive a 2,500-pound moving machine on busy highways?”
It’s crucial to understand that driving when tired can be just as risky as being drunk or under drug influence. Read on to discover how to prevent drowsiness and stay alert while driving.
Do’s Before You are Set to Drive
Before boarding a vehicle or taking the wheel on your own, consider asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you feel tired or sleep-deprived? Are you having trouble sleeping lately? You nearly triple your chances of nodding off behind the wheel if you get less than 6 hours of sleep.
- Are you going to go a long way without stopping for rest?
- Will you drive at night, in the middle of the day, or at your usual bedtime?
- Do you take drugs that can tire you, such as antihistamines, cold remedies, or mood stabilizers?
- Do you currently put in more than 60 hours each week?
- Do you hold multiple jobs, and does your primary one require shift work?
- Do you consume alcohol? Alcohol can affect your body even in small amounts.
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you take preventive measures to avoid drowsy driving.
Drowsiness Indicators to Look For
You might be about to fall asleep if you:
- Forget the past few kilometers you traveled.
- Have unconnected or rambling ideas.
- Need help with concentrating or keeping your eyes open.
- Need help to retain your head-up posture.
- Leave your lane or crash into a rumble strip.
- Repeatedly yawn.
In any of these situations, stopping in a secure location is crucial. Lock your doors, power off your vehicle, and take a 15- to 20-minute snooze in a busy, well-lit petrol station or rest area. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to set off safely the next minute.
Tips to Stay Alert When Driving
Not every time can you take all the precautions before a drive or travel. Also, it can take a while for you to reach a secure location to relax. Therefore, we have put together a list of tips to help you stay alert when traveling.
Keep a Pack of Bubble Gum
Research shows that chewing gum can increase heart rate, keep the mind alert, and engage the brain. This will eventually help you avoid drowsy driving.
Let the Air Flow
You feel better when it is cooler outside the car than inside so open the windows. Your senses will experience a reviving boost from the crisp, cool air. Take a deep breath and fill your lungs with oxygen as you inhale the breeze.
Play Unnerving Music
Experts advise listening to music that you dislike when driving. Your favorite music can lull you into a state of ease and promote sleep, especially if it is calming and rhythmic. Although the brain is an excellent adapter to sound and can tune out even loud music, increasing the volume may also be beneficial.
Keep Yourself and Your Taste Buds Awake
Studies show that eating something sour or acidic can stimulate taste buds and the brain. It’s healthy to consume fruit like apples or oranges or even to suck on lemons. Hard lemon-flavored candies can work for individuals who prefer something less messy.
Tips to Prevent Drowsy Driving
- Never drive after drinking. Drinking impairs your ability to drive and makes you feel exhausted. Driving when drunk or high with alcohol is also unlawful.
- Avoid traveling long distances alone whenever you can. You’ll have someone to talk to if you’re traveling with somebody. Furthermore, you can switch seats.
- Get enough rest. If you had less than 8 hours of sleep the day before, you’re more likely to fall asleep at the wheel.
- Only start a trip so late that you are behind the wheel when you would typically be sleeping. Start when you’re awake and in good shape.
- Maintain good posture. Don’t slouch and keep your head up high.
- Take a rest every 2 hours. Stop somewhere secure and busy to stretch and take a few laps around.
- Watch for warning signs, such as lane drift or sliding, overtaking, missing your exit, head shaking, excessive yawning, or eye rubbing.
- Have 2 cups of a caffeinated beverage, such as coffee, if you can handle it.