Driving tired is one of those collective bad habits – we’ve all done it at least one or two times in our driving lives, despite the fact that our Driver’s Ed class explicitly warned us not to. Each year around 100,000 auto accidents are caused by sleepy drivers, so it’s best to arm yourself with techniques to avoid driving tired. Of course, the number one obvious rule is to not drive at all if you’ve, say, pulled an all-nighter up with the baby or studying for your comps. But, barring that, here are a few tips for taking the road with safety in mind.
Prevent Driving Tired by Getting An Early Start
Lots of people like to drive late at night because they assume that the traffic will be thinner. While that seems like a novel strategy, driving tired between the hours of midnight and 6am is infinitely more probable, and therefore, not worth the risk. Try getting an early start (reeeeally early, if you want to avoid traffic), that way you’re rested and driving during daylight hours, when your body is most alert.
Prevent Driving Tired by Hydrating
It’s a common impulse to want to crank down a whole bunch of caffeine before hitting the road for a long trip, but the inevitable crash that results is the opposite of what you want if you’re trying to prevent driving tired. Rather than caffeine, trying staying as hydrated as possible to keep yourself fresh and your mind alert.
Prevent Driving Tired by Bringing A Friend
If your trip is going to be an incredibly long drive, then don’t try and do it alone. Driving with a buddy can prevent driving tired, because you have someone who can switch off with you if you start to feel drowsy. Not to mention someone to pump gas, DJ, help you pull off your jacket, and tell you stories about the worst jobs they had growing up.
Prevent Driving Tired by Taking a Break
One of the most fun parts of a road trip is stopping and sampling the local color at a gas station. When driving long distances, stop every 100 miles or two hours to avoid driving tired. Grab a snack, stretch your legs, buy a NASCAR hat…whatever. The point is to get your blood moving, recharge, and refocus before getting back onto the road and continuing your repetitive driving task.
Prevent Driving Tired by Using Your Technology
With the advent of smartphones and tablets, there is a whole new world at our disposal for conquering driving tired – apps. An app like Anti Sleep Pilot can test your alertness, set alarms for you to take breaks, and make sure that you aren’t driving tired without realizing it. If you don’t have a co-pilot to help take over the driving, then use your technology to help keep you safe and in between the lines.
Got any techniques to share about safely staying awake while driving? Aside from the old roll-the-window-down trick, know of anything groundbreaking? We’d love to hear it in the comments.