There’s no doubt about it: Driving long distances can be a tough challenge. Often, when people have a lot of road to cover, they have the luxury of a traveling partner. Travel with a friend or family member allows you to take turns driving, help each other stay awake and make great time on your road trip.
However, it’s not always feasible to have a companion. If you are driving alone, you have to take every shift and keep yourself awake – no small feat when you’ve been driving for hours. It is vital that you stay alert when driving as even if you show slight signs of tiredness, your judgement can become impaired. If this is the case, you may find yourself being considered as a reckless driver. If you need to drive to Virginia, you may wish to take a look at what you need to know about reckless driving before embarking on your journey.
Luckily, there are a few tips that will help you stay alert during a solo drive. Here are five ways to combat sleepiness when driving solo.
1. Chill Out
Keep the temperature in your car cooler than you would like it to be. Your body relaxes when it’s nice and warm, so a little shivering may be just the ticket to keep you alert. Roll down the windows and blast your face with chilly fresh air, or keep a cool, damp cloth in the passenger seat with which to towel off when you start feeling sleepy.
When you make stops, wash your hands and face with icy water to jolt yourself awake, and pick up a bottle of water from the refrigerator case before getting back behind the wheel.
2. Pig Out
Have you ever fallen asleep while eating? I can’t recall any accounts of someone who did. Fight the drowsy feeling by getting your jaw moving.
Avoid foods that are heavy in carbohydrates, because these cause your body to produce sleep-inducing tryptophan. While a sudden rush of sugar will jolt you awake for a short period, they will make you crash harder in the end. Instead, choose protein-heavy snacks such as peanuts, sunflower seeds and cashews.
3. Talk It Out
If it’s possible, call someone who is awake. Have a conversation about something – anything! In addition to affording you that valuable jaw motion, conversations stimulate your mind and keep you alert.
Your friends and family may be more than willing to help you drive safely when you’re tackling a long journey on your own.
4. Jam Out
If there’s no one to talk to, turn the radio on and make sure the volume is up. It’s not enough to simply listen, however. Sing along for maximum alertness.
Your favorite songs and radio stations make an excellent driving companion, and they never fall asleep! Planning can help you load your car or MP3 player with tunes that you love to rock to so you’re not at the mercy of the deejay.
5. Get Out
If all else fails, pull over as soon as is safe. If you happen to be far from an exit, pull off to the side of the road. Drowsy driving causes over 100,000 accidents annually, injuring 71,000 and killing 1,500.
It is simply not worth the risk to yourself, to others or the higher rates you’ll see next time you compare car insurance.