Many drivers enjoy a nice, long road trip from time to time. It’s an opportunity to turn to your favorite radio or music streaming station, roll down the windows, and enjoy the scenery as you pass by. However, long drives, especially those that keep you on the road until the wee hours of the morning, also cause fatigue. It’s vital to avoid this and reduce the risk of highway hypnosis, a trance-like state in which your reaction times slow and you might even doze off behind the wheel.
7 tips for avoiding drowsiness while driving
- Keep your eyes moving. Especially on long rides down monotonous roads, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of staring straight ahead constantly. Instead, shift your gaze to your mirrors every five to eight seconds, glance at the scenery, and note the positions of other vehicles near you.
- Take regular breaks. Pull into a rest stop, stop at a restaurant for a bite, or pause at a designated scenic vista every couple of hours. Make sure you stretch and get some fresh air and walk around a bit to get your blood flowing.
- Circulate cool air. If you’re comfortable driving with the windows down or your sunroof open, that will provide you with plenty of fresh air, which is ideal. But if the weather doesn’t permit it, keep your interior temperature cool by using air conditioning (or, in the cold weather, don’t set the heat up high).
- Avoid driving during the period when you’re normally in bed for the night. If you are a person with a fairly regular schedule, driving during the hours your body and brain are used to sleeping is very risky. Shift your road trip plans so that you can complete your drive before bedtime or arrange to stay over at a hotel or motel along the way during those hours.
- Keep your meals smaller and lighter while on the road. A heavy brunch or big dinner can spike your blood sugar and make you tired. And it should go without saying that you should avoid drinking alcohol.
- Don’t depend on caffeine. Coffee, soda, and other caffeinated beverages can only do so much. They are not a cure for fatigue—only rest and sleep fixes that. Plus the crash after a caffeine or sugar “high” could make you even more susceptible to nodding off driving.
- Bring a friend. Road trips are more fun with a passenger or two to join you on the adventure. Having other people in the car gives you extra mental stimulation through conversation and feeding off one another’s excitement about your trip. Obviously, your attention needs to remain on the road, but you should be able to safely converse so long as you don’t look at the other person/people while talking. And there’s the added bonus of, if you do become fatigued, having someone fresh who can take over driving duties while you get some rest.
Los Angeles automobile crash attorney
Highway hypnosis and drowsy drivers pose serious risks to themselves and other drivers. If someone nodded off behind the while and involved you in a serious accident, they need to be held accountable. Call Los Angeles car accident lawyer Scott J. Corwin at 800-946-9440 to do just that.