Have a long drive coming up this holiday season?
As you travel ‘over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house,’ don’t drive drowsy. When you’re overly tired, your reactions slow, your road awareness decreases, and your thinking is impaired. And, yes, you may fall asleep at the wheel.
Drowsy driving is extremely dangerous. We’ve all tried rolling down the windows to let the blowing air keep us awake. Or we turn up the radio volume. These tactics won’t work. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it’s best if you get seven to eight hours of sleep before you drive.
After all, you want to be wide awake when you get to Grandma’s house. So, if you must hit the road, to protect yourself, as well as others on the road, here are 10 tips to prevent drowsy driving:
1. Think naps
Pull over and take a short, 20-minute, power nap if you’re feeling drowsy. Just be sure to park in a safe location and lock your doors.
2. Drive with a partner
Switch drivers about every two hours, and sleep while your partner is driving.
3. Stay hydrated; drink caffeine
Staying hydrated is a key to staying awake. Drink plenty of water. Also, know that caffeine will improve your alertness for a few hours.
4. Take your time
If you feel tired, stop. Take plenty of breaks. Don’t speed. It’s best to arrive late than not at all.
5. Avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m.
Don’t drive when you usually sleep and when sleeping is irresistible.
6. Eat healthy
Think fruit, vegetables and almonds – energy food. Fast food and chips are loaded with fat, salt and sugar, which makes you tired.
7. Sit up straight
If you’re slouching in your seat, you may be more apt to fall asleep. Good posture will give you more control over your vehicle and improve your hand-eye coordination.
8. Move when you get tired
Get some fresh air and stretch your legs. Do some jumping jacks. Get your blood flowing.
9. Chew gum
Chewing gum helps prevent you from yawning. Be sure the gum is sugar-free.
10. Don’t drink alcohol and avoid medications that make you drowsy
This goes without saying.
Above all, when you find yourself falling asleep, just stop. Follow these tips and get yourself – and your family – to Grandma’s house.