Whether you’re taking a road trip, traveling to visit friends and family, have a long commute, or just spend a lot of time chauffeuring people around, it can be a challenge to always be alert when you’re behind the wheel. However, for the safety of everyone in and around your vehicle, being a conscientious driver is vital, which means avoiding distractions and drowsiness that could result in a car accident.
To help you learn how to better stay awake and aware while you’re driving great distances, here are three ways to keep yourself alert during long hours behind the wheel.
Make Sure You’re Well Rested
The best way to ensure that you’re not going to be overly tired when you’re driving is to only get behind the wheel if you’re well-rested.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, being well-rested means having gotten at least seven to eight hours of sleep before you start driving. Without this amount of sleep, your body is much more likely to have drowsiness symptoms that put you and others in danger. So before you plan to be spending a lot of time on the road, make sure you prioritize your sleep the night before.
Pick The Right Snacks
Not only can actual physical sleepiness cause you to feel tired while driving, but if you feel bored or allow your mind to wander or your blood sugar to drop, you can also feel both mentally and physically tired.
To combat this, it’s important that you fuel your body correctly both before and during your long drive. According to Vikas Agrawal, a contributor to LifeHack.org, although many people think of sweets and treats as their ideal road-tripping foods, these aren’t the type of foods that will help keep you sharp and alert. Instead, opt for things like proteins and complex carbs that will keep you from experiencing a sugar crash, which can leave you with very little energy.
Take Adequate Pit Stops
In addition to eating the right foods, taking adequate breaks from driving can also help you to feel more awake and alert once you get back in the car.
While many people really only like to stop for gas or bathroom breaks when on long drives, by planning to take a few more pit stops and allowing yourself to get out of the car, stretch, and get your blood pumping again, Patricia Magana, a contributor to Smarter Travel, shares that you’ll be able to pull yourself out of any type of stupor that you may have found yourself in while behind the wheel.
If you’ve got a long car ride ahead of you, consider using the tips mentioned above to help keep yourself awake and alert while driving.