How to Combat Fatigue When Driving

Fatigue is a leading factor in many fatal car accidents. However, many individuals wrongly assume that fatigued driving is solely a concern for truckers and other long-distance drivers. You have it backwards there. Fatigue while driving is a problem for drivers of all types. In fact, if you remember your driving lessons, your reputable driving instructor probably advised you not to hit the road if you’re feeling tired during your first class. After all, fatigue doesn’t come from driving but happens if you’re already exhausted from things like work, chores, or lack of sleep before getting behind the wheel. That’s why it’s crucial for you and all the drivers out there to be aware of ways to combat fatigue when driving. So, continue reading, as that’s precisely what this article is about.

Tips to help you combat fatigue while driving

Driving while tired poses obvious concerns. Keep in mind that it’s not only exhaustion or boredom from taking the same routes over and over again. It’s the total and complete mental and bodily weariness that comes with constantly being on the go. It can even make people scared and reluctant to drive.

However, we’re not here to scare you or, worse, discourage you from driving. We’re here to do just the opposite. We’re here to introduce you to techniques that will help you stay focused and alert while driving. By knowing this, you’ll feel confident and comfortable sitting behind your wheels at any time. These tips might even help some people overcome a fear of driving!

#1 Try not to start your trip later during the day

The best time to start your travel is roughly an hour after waking up. Now is when your mental faculties are at their peak state of readiness. It’s best not to get yourself involved in heavy duties that can weary you in any manner if you have a long journey ahead.

#2 Get enough sleep the night before you drive

The night before your trip, make sure to get at least seven or eight hours of sleep. If you haven’t had enough rest, you can still feel tired and groggy when you go out on your trip. You’d be risking an accident if you did that.

Let’s take truck drivers or long-distance movers as an example. Studies show that professional drivers who regularly lack sleep are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents. That’s why reputable experts from Relosmart Movers emphasize the importance of a good sleep schedule. If you don’t have a regular sleeping pattern, try out several, and you’ll quickly find the one that works best for you.

#3 Be mindful of your posture

Keep your seat far enough forward so you can’t stretch your legs out completely while driving, and maintain an upright posture. Moreover, keep your body erect and your gaze ahead at all times. However, do keep in mind that there isn’t a single other position that won’t wear you out in a few hours, and that’s why taking breaks is essential.

how to combat fatigue when driving (3)

#4 If you feel tired, stop and take a break

If you start feeling drowsy and sleepy at any point during your drive, don’t push yourself too hard and stop for a break. Don’t shy away from taking a 20-minute nap in a rest stop, like a garage, especially if you didn’t get sleep before the trip. You should never push through exhaustion since it will only cause you and others harm.

#5 Even if you don’t feel tired, stop and take a break

Driving lengthy distances requires frequent breaks. Take a rest every three hours for 20 minutes. Doing so will give you a chance to get up and walk around a bit. Plus, you’ll be alert and ready to go for the remaining three hours of your trip. The increased blood flow caused by getting up and moving around or stretching will help you stay awake.

Man in a blue t-shirt sleeping in the bed

#6 Keep the environment in your car stimulating

A good way to combat fatigue while driving is to keep the temperature in your car a little chilly. If it doesn’t work, try turning up the volume, switching stations often, and avoiding slow, quiet music. In such a lively setting, you’ll be able to maintain your alertness. In addition, avoid using cruise control and instead focus on being as hands-on as possible behind the wheel.

#7 Don’t go crazy with caffeine

Consuming caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks in moderation can be beneficial. Caffeine provides a temporary boost of energy, but like sugar, it can cause a crash that makes one feel even more exhausted than before.

Therefore, limit yourself to a cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverage no more frequently than once every four hours. If you drink more than that, driving could become a nightmare as you drift in and out of consciousness. And if you think you can handle it, try your coffee black without any additives. In the long term, drinking sugary coffee will get you nowhere. 

#8 If you start feeling tired, move around

After long hours behind the wheel, you may feel a little stiff and fatigued since sitting for long durations reduces blood flow to your legs and other portions of the body. An easy answer is to stop at a rest area or on the side of the road so that you can stretch your legs and arms and, if it is safe to do so, take a brief stroll. The simple act of stretching on a regular basis will give you a much-needed boost of energy and help you maintain your concentration on the task at hand.

#9 Watch what you eat

Don’t eat a big dinner right before you hit the road because it can make you too tired to drive safely. Keep your meal light even if you’re ravenous. Instead of stuffing yourself with heavy food all at once, it’s preferable to stop frequently and eat smaller meals.

Table at a restaurant with plenty of food on top of it

Final thoughts

As you can see, if you prepare well for your trip and follow our pretty simple tips, you’ll easily combat fatigue while driving. And if you are still wondering whether you’d be a good driver, think no more but book your driving lessons. Experience Oxford professionals will help you quickly sit behind the wheels and hit scenic English roads! 

Posted on Aug 22, 2022 by Sam

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How to Combat Fatigue When Driving