How not to fall asleep at the wheel: 7 effective tips

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A sleepy dri­ver is no less dan­ger­ous than a drunk one — about a quar­ter of all acci­dents occur pre­cise­ly because of falling asleep at the wheel. More­over, a per­son often may not feel that his con­cen­tra­tion of atten­tion has great­ly decreased. The monot­o­nous road, the dark time of the day and many hours of dri­ving tire grad­u­al­ly, and the tran­si­tion to sleep is sim­ply not fixed by the dri­ver. Accord­ing to the expe­ri­ence of motorists, even in a well-rest­ed per­son, the reac­tion rate is halved after 4 hours of con­tin­u­ous dri­ving. Healthy­in­fo will tell you how to rec­og­nize the dan­ger in time and what mea­sures to take so that acci­den­tal falling asleep does not lead to tragedy.

Signs of falling asleep while driving

Signs of falling asleep while driving

Dri­vers going on a long jour­ney need to be aware of the signs of a decrease in con­cen­tra­tion. Urgent action should be tak­en if a per­son notices:

    Yawn.
    Slow blinking, heavy eyelids.
    Muscle relaxation.
    Concentration on something monotonous, for example, when the driver does not take his eyes off the road markings for a long time.
    Short-term loss of control, for example, the car moves out of its lane a little.
    Slow reaction to any irritants, whether it be questions from a fellow traveler or road signs.

It should also be borne in mind that very tired dri­vers some­times expe­ri­ence the so-called microsleep — turn­ing off atten­tion and reac­tion for 10–30 sec­onds with their eyes open. There­fore, it is nec­es­sary to deal with drowsi­ness already at the first signs.

Tip 1: nutrition

Tip 1: Nutrition

Truck­ers often rec­om­mend some­thing to chew on the road. It is impor­tant that we are talk­ing about light snacks, and not at all about a hearty din­ner, after which, on the con­trary, it makes you sleepy even more. For food on the road, prod­ucts with a pro­nounced taste are suit­able, which can be chewed or sucked for a long time:

    Sour apple.
    Dried fruits.
    Nuts (seeds are very popular).
    Citrus. If you are intolerant of sour, a tangerine or orange will do. But still, one of the most effective ways to wake up is considered a small slice of lemon, placed under the tongue.
    Bitter chocolate (at least 75% cocoa).

If the road is long, and a good rest is not expect­ed, it is bet­ter to refuse meat dish­es and large por­tions. In extreme cas­es, in a road­side cafe, you can order a plate of sal­ad or light soup.

Tip 2: Drink

Very often, in order to cheer up, peo­ple take var­i­ous ener­gy drinks on the road. Indeed, caf­feine, which is in their com­po­si­tion, is able to save a per­son from sleep for a while. But its effect will not last more than 1–2 hours, and drink­ing more than one can a day is sim­ply dan­ger­ous for health. In addi­tion, they will not work at all on a very tired per­son. If the dri­ver falls asleep at the wheel and has been dri­ving for more than 6 hours, caf­feine will affect the ner­vous sys­tem in a rather pecu­liar way — the per­son will sim­ply be overex­cit­ed, and this will fur­ther reduce con­cen­tra­tion and reac­tion speed. There­fore, it is not rec­om­mend­ed to drink not only ener­gy drinks, but also tea and cof­fee on the road.

The fol­low­ing drinks are suit­able for dri­vers:

    Mineral water.
    Plain water with ice and lemon slices.
    Juices. Citrus fruits are especially invigorating — grapefruit, orange and others.
    Decoctions of ginseng, wild rose, eleutherococcus, echinacea. Naturally, we are not talking about alcohol tinctures — even a small amount of alcohol is dangerous for the driver.

Tip 3: singing and music

Tip 3: singing and music

It is very good for long trips to make your own playlist, which will not con­tain slow and relax­ing songs. It is impor­tant to select com­po­si­tions with famil­iar lyrics, because singing helps many dri­vers get rid of sleep. There are sev­er­al rea­sons for the effec­tive­ness of this method:

    During singing, the lungs begin to work more intensively, which means that the blood is better saturated with oxygen, and this also has an invigorating effect on the body. If possible, you need to open a window in the car for a short time — fresh air will enhance the effect.
    Remembering the lyrics of a song is a job for the brain, and while it is busy, falling asleep will not happen.

Tip 4: travel companion

The pas­sen­ger is per­haps the best way to keep the dri­ver from falling asleep at the wheel. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion ide­al­ly helps to get rid of drowsi­ness, in addi­tion, a fel­low trav­el­er will be able to con­trol the con­di­tion of the motorist, mon­i­tor his eyes and reac­tions and wake him up in time. If you have to spend 4 or more hours behind the wheel, it is bet­ter not only to talk, but also to play log­ic games. Even a sim­ple word game will help the brain to work in the right mode.

Pas­sen­gers can also pose a dan­ger to the dri­ver. This hap­pens if they fall asleep in the car. There­fore, it is bet­ter to trans­fer sleepy fel­low trav­el­ers to the back seat, and the pas­sen­gers them­selves should still try not to turn off and sup­port the one who is dri­ving. Also, do not dis­tract the dri­ver with con­ver­sa­tions or exces­sive noise in the first hours of the road — this, on the con­trary, will tire him faster.

Tip 5: smells

Tip 5: smells

One of the ways that truck­ers often rec­om­mend is to use strong odors against sleep. Of course, you can just buy a fla­vor, but, as prac­tice shows, the dri­ver quick­ly gets used to their smell and after a max­i­mum of 2 hours prac­ti­cal­ly does not react to it. Nat­ur­al essen­tial oils can be a good alter­na­tive. A cou­ple of drops on a paper nap­kin is enough to effec­tive­ly dri­ve away sleep for 1–1.5 hours. After that, you can use anoth­er oil. Ton­ic aro­mas include:

    Grapefruit.
    Lemon.
    Cardamom.
    Carnation.
    Eucalyptus.
    Pine, spruce.
    Cinnamon.
    Thyme.

In addi­tion, you can also use an ordi­nary orange or lemon in the car inte­ri­or — the fruit must be cut into slices and laid out in the cab­in. In the most extreme cas­es, dri­vers sniff ammo­nia, but it is not rec­om­mend­ed to use it con­stant­ly.

Tip 6: Move

Phys­i­cal activ­i­ty helps wake up the brain. There­fore, if the dri­ver feels that he is grad­u­al­ly falling into a slum­ber, you can inten­sive­ly move your shoul­ders, make sev­er­al head tilts. And it is best to stop, get out of the car and sit down inten­sive­ly a cou­ple of times, bend over, take a few sharp breaths. Such a charge will take only 2–5 min­utes, and there will be enough vig­or for sev­er­al more hours of the road.

In addi­tion, dur­ing a stop, you can per­form exer­cis­es for the eyes with­out even leav­ing the car — con­sis­tent­ly trans­late and fix your eyes on the steer­ing wheel, the far­thest point of the road, in the rear-view mir­ror, in the side mir­ror, in the oncom­ing lane, and so on. And after the eyes have rest­ed, con­tin­ue mov­ing.

Tip 7: Stops and Sleep

Tip 7: Stops and Sleep

The dri­ver always needs to ade­quate­ly assess their capa­bil­i­ties. It is bet­ter to break long dis­tances into sev­er­al days and make a full stop with an overnight stay. If the route is planned to be cov­ered in a day, then you need to remem­ber about the regime — every 2–4 hours it is nec­es­sary to make stops. At this time, it is bet­ter to get out of the car, move around, drink water, breathe fresh air.

If all means of com­bat­ing sleep do not help for longer than 30 min­utes, this means that the body is already extreme­ly exhaust­ed. It is extreme­ly dan­ger­ous to con­tin­ue dri­ving in this state: no mat­ter what the dri­ver does, his brain will turn off in the near future any­way. Even if the microsleep takes 5–10 sec­onds, this is enough for trag­ic con­se­quences.

ai generated, cat, animal
ai generated, cat, animal
seagull, sea, gull
ai generated, girl, asleep
ai generated, morning, forest

The best thing to do in such a sit­u­a­tion is to stop by the side of the road and let your­self sleep for at least 15 min­utes. This, of course, will not replace a good rest, but it will make it pos­si­ble to hold out to a place with a suit­able overnight stay.

By Yraa

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