As outdoor adventurers, we can agree that RV traveling is like paradise on wheels. You spend your vacations going from Point A to Point B, exploring picturesque destinations. However, this much traveling comes at a cost: spending several hours behind the wheel.
Fatigue on the road is no laughing matter. In fact, more than 6,400 U.S. deaths occur annually due to drowsy driving. In this safety guide, we’ll discuss drowsiness prevention techniques and warning signs to be aware of so you can reach your destination safely.
10 Ways To Prevent Drowsiness on the Road
If you’re familiar with long-distance trips, then you understand how difficult it is to remain awake and alert when traveling hundreds of miles. On long trips, you can prevent drowsiness by following these tips:
Arguably the best advice here is to thoroughly plan your road trip. This could mean taking 20-minute breaks for every hour of driving. If you’re traveling with someone else, coordinate a driving schedule that works well for both of you and allows you to rest and re-energize for the journey.
2. Get proper sleep the night before a drive
It goes without saying that you should always strive for an 8 to 9-hour sleep the night before a long drive. Ensure you adjust your night schedule properly so you can wake up refreshed and ready to roll.
3. Stay hydrated
Dehydration on the road can become quite dangerous. The risks include dry eyes, fatigue, and even blurred vision. You can avoid these concerns by packing water bottles. You can go a step further by having a cold or caffeinated beverage to give your body some relief during those long summer drives.
4. Initiate a conversation with fellow passengers
As strange as it may sound, sometimes all you need is an ongoing conversation with fellow passengers. The topic of discussion is not relevant. What matters, in this case, is engaging in some chit-chat so you can remain stimulated and keep your mind occupied. This can work wonders if the conversation revolves around something all parties find interesting.
5. Stop for breaks
Never attempt to drive for long durations without scheduled breaks. A good rule of thumb is to take a 45-minute break every 4.5 hours. Stop at a gas station, restaurant, or a local place so you can walk around and clear your mind before getting behind the wheel again.
6. Pack healthy snacks
Don’t fall into the temptation of stopping at fast food restaurants along the way. Instead, you can prevent drowsiness by packing non-perishable snacks with protein and high nutritional value. You can also take protein bars, beef jerky, fresh fruit, and low-fat string cheese.
7. Pre-drive nap
Depending on how late you start your drive, you might consider a pre-drive nap so you can walk up refreshed and ready to roll. A 30-minute nap before an afternoon drive should be enough to avoid irritability and help you reach your destination without exhaustion concerns.
8. Proper sun shading
One simple technique that drivers may not think about is utilizing proper shading techniques to prevent full exposure to the sun. If your car is equipped with a flap, use it to keep your eyes from glaring at the sunlight. Doing so will help prevent eye fatigue and drowsiness.
9. Crank up the air
Keeping the air in the RV turned to a low temperature, and high pressure will help ensure you stay awake while driving long distances. The cold air will keep you alert as warm air tends to relax the body, making it easier to fall asleep on the road.
10. Start early
This one seems like a no-brainer but is worth mentioning. Start your drive at a reasonable time that doesn’t conflict with your sleeping routine. A 6 p.m. start for a 9-hour drive won’t do you any good. Instead, aim for an early start so you can operate behind the wheel when you’re fully attentive.
Signs of Drowsiness Behind the Wheel
Regardless of the precautions you take, always remain attentive to these indicators of drowsiness:
- Missing one or multiple exits
- Having trouble remembering the last few miles
- Slowly drifting from your lane without noticing
- Experiencing disconnected thoughts
- Constantly yawning or squinting your eyes
If you experience any of these signs, pull over immediately into a safe spot so you can rest between 20 and 30 minutes. A well-lit area or truck stop is the best option in this scenario.
Drive Safely With Cruise America
On long trips, you can prevent drowsiness by taking extra precautions, strategizing your driving routine, and remaining alert to signs of sleepiness. If you need a vehicle for the long journey, Cruise America is ready to serve you.
Our RV rentals come equipped with modern home components. So even if you have to pull over during a long drive, you can nod off on one of our master-size mattresses. Contact us to learn more about your options.