When traveling in a car, whether for business or recreation, it can get rather monotonous for both the driver and the passenger. Driving and being tired is a very dangerous combination. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 100,000 car accidents each are due to people falling asleep at the wheel each year. These car accidents have resulted in 1,500 deaths and over 70,000 injuries annually, not to mention the significant amounts of property damage each year. These are accidents and deaths that are preventable, and here are some tips to help sleepy drivers stay alert:
- If at any point you are feeling tired or fatigued, do not hesitate to pull over to refresh or even take a nap if necessary. A rush of caffeine is not always the answer to helping you stay awake while driving. Nothing can be of more help than natural rest to help your re-energize.
- If you have had a hectic or long day, do not immediately get in the car to drive a long distance since you may be lacking in awareness and focus. Before making that long drive home, be sure to give yourself that mental break by going for a quick walk to get some fresh air and exercise.
- When planning a long distance car journey, make sure you plan an overnight stop either at a hotel or a bed and breakfast. When you map out your directions calculate where you should be by mid-afternoon and make reservations ahead of time. This will help your trip be more enjoyable and allow you start the morning off with high energy.
- Do not plan to travels to start or finish around your usual bedtime since this will disrupt your sleeping pattern and your circadian rhythm.
- Do not plan a heavy meal before taking a handling an automobile, heavy foods containing a high fat content are know to make people sluggish, even when they have had enough sleep. While you are traveling, keep yourself hydrated with a lot of water and snack on fruit or even a little chocolate to keep that energy level up.
- Bring a passenger along for the ride. Besides, the more the merrier. Having a traveling companion with you will help you stay alert and then you even have someone to share the chore of driving with when you start to feel tired.