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6 Helpful Tips for Staying Alert During Long Drives

6 Helpful Tips for Staying Alert During Long Drives

If you’ve ever been down those long, winding roads for more than a few hours, then you probably know how easy it is to lose concentration, or even fall asleep behind the wheel. Drowsy driving or driving inattentively is a leading cause of death and injury across the globe. In the United States, an estimated 6,000 fatalities can be attributed to drowsy driving annually, with up to 44,000 injuries being reported in 2013.

sleeping-while-driving

    Truck driving is a significant contributor to injury and death on the road, largely due to the long hours drivers spend on the road. Large trucks only account for 4% of registered vehicles in the U.S., but are responsible for over 9% of reported fatalities from crashes.

    Fatigue, sleepiness, or other distractions play important roles in accidents. Therefore, it is always beneficial to stay alert and focused while driving to prevent some of these accidents. In this post, we share critical tips for staying alert – and alive – on the road.

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    1. Get Adequate Sleep Before a Long Drive

    rest

      An adult needs at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night for normal functioning. This is especially important for someone hoping to go for several hours behind the wheel. When your brain is well-rested, you are more likely to maintain focus and attention on the road without the risk of dozing off on long, boring drives.

      If for some reason you can’t get enough nocturnal sleep and still must drive, take a short nap just before you get on the road. If you happen to feel sleepy during the drive, pull over in a safe location and take a 20-minute nap. Give yourself at least 15 minutes after the nap to ensure you are fully awake before getting back on the road.

      2. Avoid Alcohol

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      no-drugs

        Driving while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug is an obvious no-no on any road around the world. However, even small amounts of alcohol within legal limits can induce drowsiness, so ensure you keep away from alcohol or similar drugs while driving.

        3. Avoid Driving Between 12am and 6am

        Your biological clock sets nap-time anywhere from 10am on. During this time, your brain slowly prepares for eventual shutdown, and by 12 am, most people normally feel too sleepy to stay awake – at least productively. If you can, avoid being behind the wheel during this time. If you must, ensure you make regular stops and take short naps if you feel sleepy during a long haul.

        4. Let the Air In

        driving

          If your car or truck cab is particularly warm, it might be a good idea to let some oxygen and cool air in. Cold air jolts your system temporarily and helps you stay awake and alert. This isn’t a permanent trick, however, and you will have to pull over at the next rest stop for some rest if you are super sleepy.

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          5. Anti-Sleep Apps

          using-mobile-while-driving

            Every day, technology is helping improve safety on the road. If you often have to fight drowsiness on long drives, there are a couple of useful apps you can use to help you stay alert. Anti Drowse is an anti-sleep app that sets off your phone’s alarm randomly during your trip, helping to jolt you into alertness. Driver Alarm can differentiate between your open and closed eyelids and sets off an alarm if you fall asleep.

            Other cool anti-sleep apps include Anti-Sleep Pilot, Coffeewake, Stay Awake Pro, and Drive Awake, all which can help keep you alert on long drives.

            6. Watch what you Eat

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            food

              Your worst enemy on the road is junk food. High amounts of sugar and salt will give you a temporary energy high, but eventually make you tired. Eat healthy proteins and complex carbohydrates for more stamina and energy to keep you awake behind the wheel. Remember to stock up on vitamins for energy, too. If you must snack along the way, make sure it’s something healthy, like almonds or related snacks.

              Drink water for hydration and avoid coffee if you can. Caffeine is a notorious diuretic, which will make you dehydrated and more likely to get fatigued. Plus, the effects of caffeine tend to wear off, leaving you feeling even more tired and fatigued than before.

              Conclusion

              There are a million things you can do to stay alert during long drives, including pinching or slapping yourself when you get sleepy. However, nothing can replace a good nap and healthy meals to help keep you alert behind the wheel.

              Featured photo credit: javi_indy / Freepik via freepik.com

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              Vikas Agrawal

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              Last Updated on November 19, 2019

              Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

              Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

              I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

              How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

              Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

              So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

              1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

              Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

              For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

              Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

              “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

              2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

              These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

              This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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              But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

              Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

              For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

              There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

              3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

              It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

              Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

              4. Use Your Phone Wisely

              Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

              If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

              5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

              If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

              In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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              One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

              6. Use a “To Don’t” List

              We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

              But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

              Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

              7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

              When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

              Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

              “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

              And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

              8. Be Concise

              Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

              One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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              Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

              • Making new contacts
              • Talking about yourself at a job interview
              • Meeting people at conferences or parties
              • Phone calls to new clients

              9. Ask the Right Questions

              “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

              How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

              When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

              Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

              Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

              10. Learn as Much as You Can

              You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

              Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

              “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

              11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

              No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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              If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

              What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

              Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

              12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

              As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

              But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

              The Bottom Line

              The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

              Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

              More About Working Smart

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

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