Driving fatigue is a condition in which drivers experience drowsiness, exhaustion, slower reflexes and reduced cognitive functioning.
Drivers can face sleep-deprivation on the road and this can result in accidents. A large number of car accident compensation claims are attributed to driving fatigue. Because driving fatigue is so dangerous, it is important to remember and implement measure to counteract it.
Be sure to get plenty of sleep before driving long distances. Sleeping a full 8 hours can increase your alertness, energy levels and agility. Sleeping for longer periods or adjusting yourself to a night schedule can allow you to drive for longer periods at night.
- Don’t drink alcohol
It is important to not drink and drive because not only will this impact your cognitive and physiological functioning in general, it will exacerbate signs of driving fatigue.
- Switch drivers
If you are travelling with companions be sure to regularly switch drivers. You should divide the driving work into shifts and drive equal hours or switch over when each driver begins to display signs of fatigue. You should take rests alternately. Other passengers should keep the drivers active and awake by engaging them in conversation, listening to music and even playing games.
- Notice fatigue
Passengers should take great care to notice if a driver is getting sleepy, irritable or is yawning. The drivers themselves should keep tabs on their energy levels, alertness and see if they have eye strain, blurred vision or even headaches. If drivers show these symptoms, they should pull over or switch drivers.
- Don’t turn up the heat.
Increasing the temperature in a car can make the driver drowsy. It will increase the chances of the driver falling asleep at the wheel or exacerbate their fatigue. Hence, do not risk car crash for increased temperature control.
Make sure to have a smart diet while driving long distance. Even in our sedentary lifestyles, Carb loading or eating too much can cause drowsiness and fatigue. This can be doubly dangerous on the road if a carb-heavy diet becomes soporific.
- Naps and rest
If you have to take long trips and are aware of chances of fatigue, take a nap before leaving. This will ensure you stay alert and awake. Napping can help during the duration of the drive as well. If you feel like the drowsiness is unbearable you can pull over to the side of the road and have a nap for a few minutes. This will reduce the chance of falling asleep at the wheel. If you are travelling with another person, ask them to switch over while you nap for a bit. Resting every 2 hours or so is ideal to prevent fatigue.
- Keep up energy levels
Try taking snacks or drinks at regular intervals throughout the drive. If your sugar levels start to reduce, you may feel even more tired and unable to focus on the road. Snacking can make you alert and energized. However, be sure to reduce sugar intake because sugar crashes can worsen fatigue.
- Take caffeine
If it is absolutely necessary to drive through the night especially on your own it might be a good idea to take stimulants like caffeine. You can also take energy drinks to keep yourself awake.