Driving safely is a must for every car owner, especially when travelling long distances. However, keeping yourself awake while you’re behind the wheel, long-distance travel or not, has always been known as a daunting challenge. Whether you’re all sapped out of energy after a hard day’s work or simply exhausted dealing with heavy traffic, the temptation to fall asleep while driving becomes too strong at times. Such is a problem that shouldn’t be ignored at all, otherwise it may lead to accidents that may cost not only your car’s well-being, but your life as well. Once sleep overpowers you as you drive, it can take all your concentration and lead you to commit fatal mistakes on the road, and that risk only gets higher the longer the distance you travel. To make sure you’re 100% alert throughout your long-distance drives, keep in mind the importance of the following tips.
Tip # 1: Get seven to eight hours of sleep
Face it, the human body is designed to run optimally after a full night’s sleep – seven to eight hours is the most recommended amount that must be spent on a good one. Lack of sleep can definitely drag you down throughout the day, and you’d experience decreased concentration and lesser motivation to exert effort into a lot of things. Even if you’re the type who’d manage to get by without sleeping for seven to eight hours prior to driving, sleepiness can sneakily affect you throughout the day, and you can never tell when exactly drowsiness will settle in. So before you embark on your long-haul journey in the driver’s seat, keep in mind that a regular sleep between seven to eight hours is essential to driving safely.
Tip # 2: Take naps in between
The night may be young, but you’re no longer getting any younger. That altercation you had with a client from work may have drained all your energy going home, or perhaps your lack of sleep has slowly taken the life out of you this week. Your focus on the road is already blurry at best, and you know for yourself that you’d barely last in your semi-conscious state 10 kilometers before the next stopover. Pushing yourself for longer would certainly not help you get the focus you need as you drive the freeway going home and is certainly not considered driving safely. With that, don’t hesitate to take naps in between your long-distance trip – pull over to the nearest stopover when in the middle of your drive to take a quick snooze. Also, try napping for a bit before heading out to drive to get yourself some much-needed focus.
Tip # 3: Get a buddy to alternate with
Unless you’re in a long commute going home from work, long road trips are typically spent with a few folks or friends, and one of them may just know how to rein in the wheel in case your mind has already become too clouded. To make sure that you’re driving safely and not being too tired to focus on the road, consider having that buddy of yours to agree with you on switching places on the driver’s seat every once in a while. For good measure, try budgeting your commute time between you and your friend – say, every two hours, to make sure that both of you are well-rested as you take over each other’s place.
Tip # 4: Know what and what not to drink
Driving safely is not just limited to staying awake. Long-distance trips definitely demand your maximum attention – that will certainly keep you and your passengers safe from unwanted road accidents, since one wrong move on the freeway or an overshoot on a mountain pass can ultimately cost all your lives. Therefore, distance yourself as far as possible from drinking alcohol before driving – not only will that lead to a car crash, but it can also put you in trouble with the law through a driving under influence (DUI) charge from lurking police officers. Instead, try to drink coffee or any other energy drink before driving to help you keep focused. Surely, a good cup of joe can keep you alert during the most mundane parts of your long drive, and that would ensure the safety of everyone inside your car.
Tip # 5: Avoid defying your body clock
Perhaps one of the more challenging parts of driving safely for night drivers is the fact that they have to fight against what their own bodies are telling them – sleep between midnight and 6:00 am. It is during those hours where the body is biologically tuned to rest – those who are set to drive during those hours have it bad, since they have to combat sleepiness in its most natural time. With that, keep in mind to stay away from driving in between those hours whenever avoidable. If you’re not in a rush, try sleeping first until the sun shines – that would certainly allow you to recover some lost energy.