Important Tips to Help You Stay Awake on the Road
Many drivers believe they can still drive safely even when they are feeling sleepiness begin to set in. While it may seem possible to keep drowsiness at bay, the truth is the notion of sleep is a very powerful one and something that can overtake even the most alert and safe drivers. Turning up the volume on the radio, blasting the air conditioning, or rolling down the windows are all tricks we have been told will work to keep us awake behind the wheel, when in reality they are just “old wives’ tales.” Here is what you need to look for, and what tips you should follow when it comes to combating drowsy driving.
When are You Too Tired to Drive?
In some cases, it can be hard to tell when we are becoming too tired to drive. Some of the signs you should keep an eye out for when you’re getting ready to or are already driving include:
- Wandering thoughts
- Difficulty focusing
- Yawning excessively
- Difficulty keeping the head up
- Feeling irritable or restless
- Trouble remembering travel
- Drifting between lanes, hitting rumble strips on the side of the road, or tailgating unintentionally
Far before we fall asleep while driving, there will be slowed reaction time or lapses in attention while behind the wheel. This is what makes drowsy driving so dangerous.
What Can You Do to Avoid Drowsy Driving?
The best way for drivers to avoid drowsy driving is to make sure they get seven to eight hours of sleep before hitting the road. If this isn’t an option – and let’s be honest, it isn’t always possible – there are some other ways you can help stay more alert while driving:
- Take a short nap before hitting the road to help make up for a shorter night of sleep.
- When taking a long trip, include some time to pull over and take a short nap if needed.
- Take your time and do not rush to get to your destination.
- Avoid drinking alcohol that could contribute more to drowsy feelings.
- Use the “buddy system” and have another driver available to take turns.
- Drink caffeinated beverages when needed.
- Avoid driving between midnight and six in the morning – this is the time your body’s biological rhythm wants to sleep.
Looking for more safety tips or maybe Behind the Wheel Training? Training Wheels is a Pomona driving school specializing in teaching new teen drivers how to stay safe on the road. For more information on our lessons, please click here.
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