5 simple tricks to avoid fatigue behind the wheel

5 simple tricks to avoid fatigue behind the wheel

According to the ASIRT (Association for Safe International Road Travel), car accidents represent the 9th cause of death workdlwide. Expressions like "the accident was caused by fatigue that has build up" or "the driver fell aspeel behind the wheel" are often mentioned when it comes to an accident.

Drowsiness/fatigue behind the wheel is a major risk factor during this period, when many drivers that are not familiar with long drives go on vacation driving their personal car. Please find below the main signs of drowsiness and 5 tricks that will help you overcome this state so that you always reach your destination safely.

"Micro-sleep" – a hidden enemy

One of the most dangerous ways that drowsiness behind the wheel manifests is the "micro-sleep". "Micro-sleep" is actually a state of sleepiness that lasts between 2 and 30 seconds. This manifestation of fatigue is very dangerous because during this time, the driver’s eyes are open and he can see the road but is in a state of reality diffusion.

Thus hesitation in maintaining the lane appear. The car manufacturers have started creating warning systems like virbations of the wheel or chair when the driver crosses over the lane markings without any signal, but these systems don’t protect you 100 % nor are they accessible widely.

Apart from the "micro-sleep", there is a series of signs even more obvious that indicate dorowsiness behind the wheel, among which:

  • You are yawning often and it’s hard for you to keep your eyes open
  • It is difficult for you to focus on the road
  • You don’t remember what happened in the last minutes you drove
  • You are not maintaining the proper distance from the car in front of you
  • You are missing road signs
  • You are getting too close to the side of the road or th its middle

How to fight drowsy driving?

Of course the best advice you could get is never get behind the wheel if you are tired, but in reality this doesn’t really happen. Thus, professional drivers have tried to find tricks to help them fight fatigue behind the wheel. Please find below 5 such tricks that you can apply easily.

  • 1. Drink coffee or green tea: such liquids can represent a very quick energy intake. Pay attention though that they are effective only after 15-20 minutes from the consumption time, so please wait for this period to pass before getting behind the wheel. Also, given the fact that it will energise you on a short term, don’t exagerate by consuming these substances in large quantities.

  • 2. Take breaks: the basic rule is to take 1 break after every 2 behind the wheel. During these breaks you need to do physical exercises to freshen up or you can even take a nap on the backseat for 15-20 minutes, enough to give your nervous system some time to recover. The fact that some long-distance drivers are used to the fatigue and can drive longer without breaks is just a myth.

    Careful where you stop: avoid stopping on the side of the road or on the highway emergency lane and always use the special parking lots or gas stations along the way.

  • 3. Chew gum: this action will keep you busy and alert at the same time and thus it will manage to keep you awake even if the fatigue is taking its toll.

  • 4. Set a low temperature in the car: a high temperature will favor sleepiness, thus you will be able to reduce the temperature to create an environment that does not favor fatigue. Don’t exagerate with the air conditioning, which can be damaging for your health and it can affect even the most sensitive people to temperature changes.

  • 5. Avoid using the cruise control: modern cars offer the possibility of a comfortable driving on automatic pilot and many drivers use this option for long rides. Even so, when you are tired, using the cruise control will emhasize your state by reducing your interaction with the car. You should avoid using this option when you are tired.

The 5 tricks above will help you overcome your fatigue with more ease but keep in mind that the best solution is to get the proper rest before starting a long trip. This is the only way to be sure that drowsiness will not cause any trouble and you will reach your destination safely.

Apart from fatigue behind the wheel, the short summer rains can also be a problem when you choose to go on holiday with your car. Please find here some useful tips on how you can increase your safety and the one of your passengers while driving in the rain.