6 Tips to Stay Alert When Driving
When either driving long distances, driving during the early hours of the morning or late at night we may not be as alert as we think. Many believe that we can safely continue to travel whilst feeling our eyelids becoming heavy and concentration begin to wonder. Because of this, we do not only put ourselves at risk of having an accident, but also all other road users.
Most have done the simple things such as turning up the radio and opening the window, in an effort to keep ourselves awake and alert, however, these tactics don’t often come as a distraction rather than improving your concentration.
Get Enough Sleep
Now, this may sound simple one that many of us will think is a given, however, it is believed that nearly 20% of accidents in the United Kingdom are caused by drivers falling asleep whilst at the wheel of a moving vehicle. This means that lack of sleep and tiredness cause an alarming number of incidents on the UK roads every day. There has been a push to encourage drivers to pull over when tired with the “Tiredness can kill” campaign which can be seen all over the UK Motorways and Dual Carriageways.
It is recommended that we need a good 8-10 hours of rest every day in order to function effectively throughout the day. This amount of sleep should allow you to remain awake and alert during normal hours of travel. If travelling outside of regular hours, then we would advise that you take a quick 20-minute to 30-minute nap before setting off. This quick rest should hopefully help allow you to stay alert whilst travelling.
Take Regular Breaks
This also may seem however too many of us have reached that point in our journey when we are 20 minutes to an hour away from our destination and think that instead of having a break, we should plough on and get to our destination. Maybe that you are eager to just get on with the journey? Or you are running late to return a rental car? But taking regular breaks whilst travelling is a must (especially if you are travelling long distances or for a large amount of time).
Now when we say take a break, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend an hour in a service station paying way too much for a hot drink but give your body a chance to get away from the driver’s seat and stretch your legs. Sitting in the same position for hours on end will inevitably allow your mind to wander and your concentration to slip, so allow your body to move about a bit and wake yourself up. Remember, it is always better to turn up safe so make sure you and everyone around you are safe by taking regular breaks.
For those who are travelling with a companion, this tip not only allows you to take regular breaks from driving but will allow you to take quick naps every couple of hours. Changing drivers every couple of hours will give you and the other driver a chance to rest and relax.
If you take medication, taking new medications, or medications which affect your concentration – you should factor this is into your journey planning and driving time. Some medications can affect your ability to concentrate for long amounts of time. It can also increase drowsiness and likeliness of falling asleep – therefore putting yourself and others in danger.
Now we have all been in the situation, it’s a Sunday afternoon or Christmas just after you have had a large feast and now you are tired and sleepy due to food consumption. Eating a heavy meal can encourage drowsiness which in turn will lead to you becoming less alert behind the wheel of your hire car.
Snacking on things such as “Meal Deals” and service station food is a sensible way for you to eat enough to maintain the energy needed to travel long distances whilst not “weighing” you down enough to encourage tiredness and a lack of attention.
We would also encourage that whilst getting food for your journey to take the time away from the hire car to have a break inside the service station. This means that you won’t be tempted to drive and eat.
The above are all helpful advice and every road user and driver is different, but these are our top tips for staying alert whilst driving.