Drunk driving. Distracted driving. We seem to constantly hear about the dangers related to intoxication or smartphone use while behind the wheel. And for good reason, as both are incredibly important safety concerns. Yet something which can be equally dangerous, but is not often talked about, is driving while drowsy.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% of Americans have operated a vehicle when they felt sleepy and nearly 40% have fallen asleep while driving!! It’s an epidemic with potentially fatal consequences.
Yes, today’s world overly-emphasizes speed, timeliness, and fitting as much into each day as possible, but few destinations are worth dying for in your attempt to arrive. “Better late than never” should be an acceptable standard when your life and the lives of others on the road are on the line. However, it’s also true that the pressures of life and work can also push you to drive when you don’t feel 100%. We strongly encourage any drowsy driver to pull-over and rest, but for those who need just a little help keeping alert on the road, here are 8 Tips for Staying Bright-Eyed While Driving!!
1. Keep it Cool. While you may not enjoy the cold, cranking the thermostat down to a cooler temperature or rolling the windows down to let in some cold air can be an ideal way to prevent you from becoming too warm and cozy and dozing off during a drive.
2. Car Ride Karaoke! You may not have James Corden in the cab to sing along with you, but feel free to turn the radio on and belt out those familiar songs!! You’ll be surprised at how singing along with 70s rock bands and 80’s one hit wonders can really wake you up when you start feeling a little drowsy. Just don’t close your eyes when you hit those high notes; we’re trying to stay safe here!!
3. Talk To Me. As many truckers can attest, a CB radio remains the best way to stay on top of traffic, police checks, and weather conditions on the road ahead. And of course, it can be fun to simply shoot the breeze in that fun trucker slang. Similarly, you could always place a call on your mobile device via a bluetooth or other hands-free technology that doesn’t take your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. No CB or cell phone? Grab a passenger to keep you company and keep you alert during the drive.
4. Ice Ice Baby. Keeping a small cooler filled with ice and bottles of water are a great addition to any long drive. Cold water helps keep you hydrated and energized during long stretches of highway. And be sure to stay away from sugary drinks; when the caffeine-fueled energy starts to wear off, it happens quickly and will likely leave you even more sluggish than you were to start with. Avoid the crash (metaphorically and literally) and stick with some ice cold water.
5. Face It. Keeping a washcloth to dip in that ice-cold water and wipe your face and neck can also revitalize and keep you alert on a long drive!!
6. Quick Breaks. If you can’t stop for the night, try to take multiple, quick rest breaks. Truck stops and rest areas are placed in areas where drivers are more prone to need breaks from the road, so pull over, shut the car off and get 15 or 20 minutes of shuteye before heading back out again.
7. Catch Some Real Z’s. Seriously, if you are drowsy, it’s really best — and most safe — if you can get a full night’s sleep. If you don’t drive a sleeper cab, plenty of hotels and motels leave the light on for you along the way, so check in and give your body the recuperation it needs to safely get you home.
8. Take a Plane. In some instances, drivers — especially those who run their own businesses or who are otherwise stretched thin — may find it more convenient to call an auto transport company to have the vehicle delivered. Without the worry of transport, you could simply catch up on your sleep on a plane ride and meet the vehicle at your destination!!
The most important aspect of driving is not to get somewhere as quickly as possible, though that is a big part of the job. Instead, the most important aspect is to arrive alive. Drowsy driving can be lethal, so you should do all that you can to ensure you stay bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, no matter how far you have to travel.
What do you do to stay alert while driving?? Let us know in the comments below!!
Chris Ward has worked for A-1 Auto Transport for over 20 years.