Driving and drowsiness go together like electrical appliances and water - a disaster waiting to happen. Driving is a physically exhausting activity. Sitting upright while concentrating on the road can get tiring after a while. This dual-use of one's sensory and physical energies can lead to severe drowsiness. If you are a regular traveller, you would know this generally happens while driving on the highways or during intercity journeys. And needless to say, it’s extremely dangerous.
We do NOT recommend drowsy driving, so we have a few tips on how to avoid feeling sleepy during long drives. Here are some precautions you can take to avoid this:
● If your forthcoming long journey is pre-planned, we recommend that you add "proper sleep" on your to-do list. Sleeping adequately for 7-9 hours before starting out, can do wonders for your body.
● But if the trip is rather sudden, then, resting for at least 15-30 mins can also do the trick.
● Our bodies function on a circadian rhythm. We're generally used to staying awake during the daytime and sleeping at night. This is why your body may not get accustomed to late-night driving, as that is time set aside for resting after a long day. So night-driving may lead to fatigue.
● Nighttime is the perfect setting for your body to feel relaxed and totally at ease, even in the middle of a busy highway. This might make you feel sluggish and sleepy, so avoid driving during late hours, if possible.
● Giving yourself plenty of breaks at regular intervals can help you retain energy for a more extended period.
● Physiologically too, regular breaks can help your body recover from the weariness of sitting in spot continuously. Continuous lack of movement is known to lead to low blood pressure. So pull over as often as you need and stretch your limbs.
● For the caffeine addicts, this one's for you. If you love caffeine, then surely you already travel with enough coffee and energy drinks to last the whole trip.
● But if you aren't much of a caffeine fan, then it would be a good idea to carry some, as it may provide just the kick you need to go on, if your eyes are getting tired.
● Sadly, for the driver, binging on junk food may not be the right thing to do as the high fat and carb content in chips and other processed food can make you sluggish. The body works overtime to digest these food items, adding to your exhaustion.
● On the other hand, quick energy foods like dry fruits, bananas and energy bars can give you that instant shot of zest you need.
● Some people also like chewing gum to keep themselves awake. Carry a couple of chewy mints then.
● We highly recommend traveling with a companion (or two) on a long and tiring journey. Having someone to talk to or engage with you, can keep your mind alert.
● If your companion knows how to drive, it's an added bonus! This way, you can take turns driving so that one person does not feel burned out! You can switch places every couple of hours or after approximately 80-100 km.
Ignore the following warning signs:
● If you have been yawning continuously for a while, you need to pull over and freshen up. Or if you have a driving companion, switch places. Constant yawning can lead to loss of focus and even make your eyes watery.
● Your eyelids feel droopy.
● You are unable to pay attention to the honking of vehicles driving in a different lane.
The following tips may not work for everyone. But, if you think they can be useful to you, feel free to try them:
a) Listen to your favorite tunes.
Nighttime + silence = sleepiness. So, keep the sleepy silence at bay with your favorite upbeat music that you enjoy listening to. Sing along to stay awake and alert!
b) Roll the windows down for a bit:
Fresh air may be just what you need to regain some energy, especially if your cabin starts feeling stuffy. With proper ventilation, there are fewer chances of you feeling fatigued.
So, these were some tips on driving when you're sleepy or tired. While we do not recommend that you drive while feeling drowsy, these tips might come handy if you are left with no other choice.
Additionally, proper upkeep of one's vehicle and adequate tyre care can help from over- exhausting your vehicle. Be prepared for any situation. Ensure that you have bookmarked your browser search results for "tyre shop near me" throughout your driving route in case you face a flat tyre.