If you find yourself dozing off after 30 minutes of driving, be it day or night, welcome to the club: you are a typical driver who strives not to fall asleep as the road goes ever on and on monotonously. A recent research shows you start feeling drowsy after 15 minutes of staying in a moving car. Here is how you can help boost your alertness while behind the wheel.A team of researchers from the RMIT University has recently reported that a driver begins experiencing the first symptoms of drowsiness after 15 minutes of driving. According to them, the cause behind is the vibrations produced by mechanisms in the vehicle. These symptoms aggravate as you drive, reaching its peak at about an hour mark. Perhaps, it could exacerbate even more, but their experiment was stopped after 60 minutes of simulated driving in a car seat placed on a special platform that vibrated at various frequencies. It means whatever measures we take, we are likely to be affected by these vibration regardless of time of the day and season. That being said, you can still try to counter the effect and help your mind remain alert.
#1. Take a pre-drive napIf you are about to hit the road, take a pre-driving nap to prevent sleepiness from attacking you. Remember the golden rule of not napping for more than 20 minutes, otherwise your short period of rest will result in feeling even worse. When napping, turn off the TV, computer or whatever else that can interrupt your sleep (don’t forget to set the alarm, though). Don’t drive if you haven’t slept enough or at all, as it increases the risk of accidents. Ask your friend to give you a lift or call a taxi instead.
#2. Nothing shameful about mid-drive napsIf you feel you cannot help yawning and find it challenging to keep your head up, it means it’s time for a mid-drive nap. There is nothing to be ashamed of: pulling over and napping in a safe location is fine. Make sure you do not block the traffic and do not exceed the 20-minute rule. When you wake up, chances are you will be groggy for another ten minutes: wait and drink water to boost your alertness.
#3. Drink caffeine-rich drinksBe it coffee or an energy drink, anything that has caffeine in it will do. Yes, it goes without saying that energy drinks should be avoided, as they can cause you harm, but as far as safe driving is concerned, it is better to drink one can of an energy drink than to end up hitting some other vehicle or structure. You can get a can of such a drink at gas stations or any grocery shop.
#4. Drive in turnsIf there is a long journey ahead, it’s recommended to drive in pairs. Long-distance drivers, such as those driving buses with tourists, switch every couple of hours. While you are driving, your partner can take a nap, and vice versa.
#5. Never drink alcohol when drivingIf you think that alcohol can boost your alertness, you are plain wrong. Not only is drunken driving prohibited, but it is extremely dangerous. As far as sleepiness is concerned, boozes contribute to drowsiness, so avoid anything with spirits, including candies.
#6. Avoid driving at nightUnless there is an emergency, do not drive at night or other times of the day when you usually rest. Your internal clock will not tolerate the change and will try to force you to doze off, and there is no guarantee caffeine will prevent sleep from overtaking you.
Whatever the situation on the road, remember that in the overwhelming majority of cases driving safely is more important than getting to your destination on time. When you neglect the rules of safe driving, you put at risk not only yourself, but others too, so be responsible.