How to Stay Awake and Alert During Long Road Trips
Millions of Americans plan to hit the road this holiday season to visit friends and relatives, but long drives and heavy food can mean boredom and fatigue. All of us here at Speedcraft VW in Wakefield hope you stay safe and have fun, so please don’t rely on an open window and loud music to stay awake.
Those tips don’t work, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Even the most vigilant driver can succumb to the strong biological pull of sleep, no matter how hard you buffet yourself with heavy metal music, wind and road noise. Even when you think you feel fine, it’s sometimes hard to tell when you’re too tired to drive.
While VW offers numerous safety features – everything from autonomous emergency braking to adaptive cruise control to rear traffic alert – these driver assistance systems are no substitute for a well-rested, attentive driver.
The National Sleep Foundation’s signs that it’s time to pull over:
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
- Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts
- Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
- Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
- Trouble keeping your head up
- Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
- Feeling restless and irritable
Of course, it’s important to get 7-8 hours of sleep before your drive, but there are a few other ways to stay alert and safe.
Other methods include:
- Take a short nap before a road trip, or pull over if you feel drowsy and sleep for 20 minutes. Make sure you are in a safe location and remember you’ll be groggy for 15 minutes or so after waking up.
- Find a buddy. Pull over every two hours and switch drivers, while the other takes a nap if possible.
- Don’t rush. Better to arrive at your destination safe than on time.
- Do not drink alcohol. Even very small amounts can make you drowsy.
- Don’t drive between midnight and 6 a.m. when sleepiness is most intense.
- Drink coffee. Caffeine improves alertness.
A few other things can help make the drive more enjoyable. Have a good time. Create playlists, bring along some audiobooks, pack some snacks and water. If you’re very hungry, or very full, you’ll feel awful. Eat a little here and there to keep yourself comfortable and alert. Pace yourself, and take some stops to stretch and rest.
And remember your jumper cables, phone charger, headphones, tool kit and flashlight.
If you’d like to learn more tips, tricks and other automotive answers, check our blog frequently, and give us a call at 855-439-7789 or visit.