Long haul trips can be quite tedious. I know alot of driver that find some kind of meditative peace during long hauls, but for me they’re are often boring after about the first 15 or 20 miles. I start to notice your tires making that humming sound against the road, which does little to add to whatever I’m listening to on the radio. In addition, most of the scenery on these routes are the same, especially since I frequently drive on the same route – basically seeing all there is to see. These two potentially lethal combinations i.e. nothing visually stimulating to keep your attention and the constant din from the tires, are what contribute to road fatigue, which eventually leads to drooping eyelids.
When truckers are struggling to stay awake on the road, their first instinct is to pull over and grab something to help them ward off fatigue. And, sure enough, when they walk into their favorite truck shop there are all kinds of sugary and energy products promising to provide the ideal way to stay awake while driving. But research has shown that these quick fixes not only pose a health risk, but they also leave you more tired than before once effects have worn off.
So what should you do when you have a long-haul assignment and you know that somewhere along the way you will, inevitably, get tired? Below we take a look at 7 natural ways to stay awake longer on the road…
1. Adequate preparations beforehand
Preparing for a long distance haul can be pivotal in not getting tired which is why you should get enough rest and sleep prior to embarking on your journey. Resting prior to a long drive ensures that your senses are well rested in order for them to perform optimally and sharpen your reaction times while driving.
2. Open your window
This is another great way of keeping tiredness at bay owing to the resultant breeze of air that flows throughout the vehicle once a window is open. The only downside to this is that if you wear contact lenses, your eyes are more likely to dry out from the cold breeze.
3. Drive with a passenger
It is always easier to avoid tiredness by driving with a passenger as this ensures that there is always someone who can prevent you from dozing off. Moreover, it is safer to talk to a passenger as opposed to talking on the phone which is both dangerous and illegal for you and other road users. When tackling a long haul with a passenger, engaging in conversation keeps your brain active since you are focused on the subject of the conversation thus avoiding tiredness.
4. Alternate driving
This is, undoubtedly, one of the best ways of ensuring that a long haul trucker does not fall asleep as the passenger ought to be resting and ready to swap with the driver at a moment’s notice should they start to feel drowsy. To ascertain that the passenger is well prepared to take over driving, they should be relaxing and resting in the interim.
Music can be a powerful tool to make sure that a driver does not fall asleep while they drive. It is, therefore, advisable to play music that you do not necessarily like because it will annoy you and ensure that you stay awake (avoid relaxing music as it is likely to make you more tired). Try up beat, fast music, or music you can sing along to.
6. Air conditioning
Nowadays, most vehicles come equipped with air conditioning, which is an easy way of ensuring that you do not fall asleep while driving. If you decide to employ air conditioning during your drive, ensure that the temperature is well below your ordinary body temperature in order to help your brain stay alert. Remember, too low and your brain will not be able to function well. The reason why a lower temperature is advocated for is because heat makes us relax and feel sleepy.
7. Stay hydrated
Drinks are a good way of staying awake when driving. However, avoid those that contain a lot of sugar because after a while, your body is likely to start feeling drowsy. The quicker the sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, the more profound the effect. Drinks such as coffee work extremely well to keep you awake owing to caffeine (although you will probably need frequent bathroom breaks which should keep your mind alert thinking of where the next rest area is).
Thanks for reading and stay awake and safe on road…Ryan