We have all been there. Long journey, endless roads, and sleepiness; the worst combination. And it gets worse when you know that one second of your attention off the road can be fatal. Most of the times it happens on motorways as the journey is monotonous and silent, if you’re alone. I would be sharing some tested techniques on how to stay active, attentive and avoid sleeping when you have to drive on a long travel.
1. Get your sleep
Sounds obvious. Sleep before you start your journey, make sure your body and mind have got the rest they need prior to a long journey. And try sleeping more than you usually do. This would work in very few cases when people would actually sleep early, which most of us don’t. And it won’t work in case of people who have a daily commute as a long journey, but no harm in trying at least.
2. Share the drive
A good alternative is to have another driver with you so you don’t have to do all the work and get tired. You can sleep in the car while the other driver is driving and vice versa, this is usually common with truck drivers who have to travel for days.
3. Get a passenger
Another help could be to have a passenger, or more, with you. You can keep yourself busy in a conversation with them so you won’t have the time to sleep and even you feel sleepy, they can always realize that and engage you in conversation so you would talk too.
4. Don’t let them sleep
Yes, if a passenger with you, who is not a driver and would not share drive with you, is sleeping with you and you are the one doing all the work, get rid of these sorts of passengers. Even if you think you are not sleepy, the sleeping passengers will make you feel sleepy and there is an increased chance that you will wake up in a mess. Just don’t let this happen.
5. Get something to listen to
If you are alone, or even if you are not, listening to something like stereo, radio, or some sort of music can help you stay awake. If you are one of those people who go to sleep while listening to songs, then do not listen to those songs while driving. This could be dangerous. Listen to something different and keep changing it. You can always dial to a friend over the phone, using earphones or bluetooth.
6. Drive differently
Sticking to your reflexive driving style can be boring, specially on motorways. If you usually drive faster, drive slower, and vary the speeds between 120 and 110, keep an eye on the speedo, just set two speeds and keep oscillating between them. This will keep you engaged. Doing this might be annoying but could save you from a mess.
7. Drive faster
Although no safety precaution would ever mention this, this is an effective way. No one says you should drive faster, but underneath we all like it. Driving faster can lead to accidents, it can get you a speeding ticket, but when driving slower makes you drowsy, you can always try this if you are ready to take a risk, which I think is smaller than falling asleep. And as a matter of fact, we’ve all done that.
8. Get something to eat or drink
This will also keep you engaged. If you are not in a hurry, you should stop for it. Get tea or coffee, whichever makes you feel good. If you don’t have time to stop and eat, stop and buy something or you could grab something before starting your journey. You can then drink something while driving. Your digestive system would keep you busy, and after some time you would want to use the lavatory. Now what should be done is to stop and use the toilets if you think you will be fresh again after doing it, but if you think that could be a danger and you will feel sleepy after doing it.
9. Hold it!
Yes, you read that right. If you don’t believe me, just go out there and try it. It won’t let you sleep even if you have been awake for a day.
10. The last resort
If you feel none of the above is working, just stop your vehicle and get some sleep, for half an hour or maybe lesser, whatever helps you refresh your mind. Don’t think you will be late if you do this, it can save from a fatal accident. Remember, better late than never.
Following are some Google’d images of accidents caused by sleep deprivation.
Did you find this helpful? Tell us in the comments. Stay awake and drive safe.