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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

              Vikas is the co-founder of Infobrandz, an Infographic design agency that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies.

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              Last Updated on May 28, 2020

              How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

              How to Succeed in Business: 10 Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

              Learning how to succeed in business used to be a case of being really good at one skill or area and milking it for all its value. Today, we are fast becoming a “skills economy”[1], driving trends in employment and even the way we approach entrepreneurship.

              To succeed in today’s business landscape, business owners and executives need to possess a mix of skills that enable them to stay ahead and adapt to change.

              1. Digital Savviness

              As the adage goes: “If you’re not online, you don’t exist.” Today’s entrepreneurs need to take to the internet to increase their presence and to remain relevant in an evolving business landscape.

              Companies like Amazon, Netflix, Airbnb and more are a testament to the disruptive impact of technology and the new image of what it means to be a skilled, successful professional. Think about today’s Mark Zuckerberg versus a banker from the 90s.

              Being able to quickly adapt to new technology, like cloud applications and collaborating remotely across the internet, is fast becoming the expected norm for executives.

              For businesses, discoverability on the web is becoming a quick litmus test for credibility. Potential customers and investors bank on the first page of Google to make up half their minds about making further transactions with a business. GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying[2].

              How to Develop This Skill

              For a start, begin by hosting your website and reserving all of your brand’s handles across social media platforms. While hiring a web developer might sound like the next step, consider first hosting your company’s site on more user and budget-friendly options like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress.

              From here, you can start on some simple search engine optimization techniques that will increase your discoverability over time. Through keyword research, organic content creation, and external back-links, your site will, eventually, slowly but surely garner more traffic.

              Note, however, that an increase in search traffic does not immediately imply an increase in revenue. But it’s a start for delving into customer conversion rates in the future.

              2. Financial Forecasting

              Let’s face it, many business owners feel that time could be better spent on developing and running the business instead of planning for it financially. However, a financial forecast serves as a roadmap for shaping any kind of business and is not just reserved for the likes of listed companies providing financial guidance to shareholders.

              Largely, forecasting and planning your financial goals will give you a clearer idea of resources required and ways to measure success. It can also provide assurance to investors as a testament to the thorough research and planning you have done when included in business plans.

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              However, inaccurate forecasts can lead to livid investors and mismanagement of expenses, which could potentially result in financial teething problems. When creating a detailed financial forecast, a rule of thumb is to always start with your expenses.

              How to Develop This Skill

              Generally, it is easier to calculate and predict your expenses compared to your revenue, so noting down your expenses is a starting point to benchmark how much you might need to generate in sales to turn a profit. It is a good habit to regularly update and evaluate how adjacent your operations are to what you have forecasted.

              Building a precise set of growth forecasting will take time, but, remember, you are an investor in your own business. You must have confidence in the validity of your business concept.

              3. Video Production Skills

              The rise of visual mediums and the dopamine boosts it gives to users has long been researched and proven as providing an unfair advantage to businesses that leverage it[3].

              If you’re a heavy user of social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube, you’ll know that it’s pretty hard to stop once you get started on a binge-watching session.

              In fact, video marketing is seeing a non-stop rise in popularity and effectiveness when used in conjunction with social media to drive traffic and boost conversions[4]. According to research, by 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content[5]. With video marketing becoming more ubiquitous, businesses that fail to leverage the power of video are almost certain to lose out.

              How to Develop This Skill

              Some ways to get started with using videos for your business would be:

              • Creating a series of educational videos that cover useful information for your audiences
              • Live videos interacting with your community at large (these can be shot on your smart phone)
              • Using videos on landing pages to boost your customer conversions

              4. Benchmarking Personal Goals to Business Performance

              As far as you get into achieving endeavours on your business bucket list, it’s important to remember that being an entrepreneur is just one facet of your identity. Don’t forget why you started in the first place.

              Ambition usually stems from some lifestyle goals you’ve always wanted for yourself and the people you might be providing for today or in the future. Working 24/7 is a surefire route to burnout and may manifest in an unhealthy interaction between partners and employees as well.

              How to Develop This Skill

              Money can’t be your only motivation, but look into the positives of how having more financial freedom and time can impact your life. In the short term, involving your interests in your businesses can make everyday tasks feel less like mundane errands. In the long run, your business may also bring you fruitful rewards, including personal fulfilment.

              Set realistic income goals to manage expectations for your performance and your company’s revenue, especially during its earlier stages. See how projected growth can align with your personal goals and make adjustments accordingly to maintain a balance between growth and your personal values.

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              5. Leveraging Healthy Competition

              Some of the best athletes who have spent their careers neck-and-neck with each other have changed the standards in their respective sports. The notion of healthy competition applies to the business world more than it may seem on the surface.

              Innovation has always been a key driver in free markets, which were intended to boost economies and provide customers with more choices. Just like the biggest sporting rivals that build on each others’ game, you can use your biggest competitors to hone your strategies.

              How to Develop This Skill

              Turn a competitive market landscape into an advantageous one by leveraging on long-established systems your business proposes an alternative to. Learn from the mistakes of predecessors once you discover their product or service loopholes.

              For example, the Dollar Shave Club’s viral video[6] became a big hit because it hit the right buttons of consumers being tired of purchasing expensive but low quality shavers from incumbent retail giants. Going in second meant they could fill a gap competitors might not even have been aware of.

              Apart from lifting off from what could have been your second-mover advantage, solidify your place with your business’ own first-mover advantage — whether you’re tapping into a new geographical region, unexplored market sector, or introducing a business model that proves more viable than others. There’s always room for improvement in business from mature markets to newly emerging ones.

              6. Honing Pitches to Investors

              Stand out in a broad mix of budding entrepreneurs by mastering the art and science behind a solid investor pitch that can determine the acceleration of growth for your business. Get comfortable talking about your ideas and receiving feedback or questions from peers, partners, and advisors before setting out to make a good impression on potential customers and eventually investors.

              The phrase “If you can’t convince them, confuse them,” will certainly never get your business funded, especially in front of seasoned venture capitalists who have seen thousands of startup pitches. You should be able to deliver a quick elevator pitch that summarizes your unique proposition and its market viability for casual meet-ups[7] because you sometimes only have a few minutes to make a good impression and move on to another meeting.

              How to Develop This Skill

              Develop your investor pitch deck by highlighting your business’ strongest points, which will vary for every funding round. Create your deck with the investors’ interests in mind, balancing technical jargon and buzzwords.

              You can also introduce your diverse team of experts, some proven traction, or the current state of the market to demonstrate profitability and the attractiveness of the opportunity to investors.

              Ensure each slide flows into the other to develop a persuasive narrative, utilizing consistent and intelligent design principles to support your content.

              7. Developing a Strong Brand Identity

              In a world of saturated content and numerous emerging businesses that offer similar service lines, developing a unique brand identity will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competition. From aesthetics to the body of clients you’re associated with, these contribute to how you’re perceived by prospects looking to buy.

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              Evaluating your brand identity is linked to identifying your target customers, your business goals, a proposed promised land your solution achieves, and identifying values that are aligned to these components. Brand identity serves as a guide to maintaining consistency and creating an image you want your business to be associated with.

              How to Develop This Skill

              Efforts to strengthen your brand identity are closely tied to giving marketing strategies a direction. By knowing what makes your target customers tick, their values, ideals, and behavior, you will be able to elevate your business from simply being a service or product to be utilized into a projected brand customers and partners would be happy to identify with.

              8. Automating to Your Advantage

              The need for efficiency is often the general problem new businesses aim to resolve across all markets and industries. Assure that your proposed solution is more efficient than what’s readily available in the market to instill the need for it.

              Efficiency is often achieved nowadays through digitalization and new technologies. While your product or service may not necessarily be the most innovative out there, you can apply the same automation concept across your business’ daily operations.

              How to Develop This Skill

              Shorten turnaround times and conversion rates by investing in small tools for automation where you deem fit. While it may come out of your pocket in the early stages, evaluate the holistic advantages and benefits of automating certain processes. At our office, we’ve tried using collaborative apps like Workplace by Facebook, Slack, Asana and a few other popular apps to reduce human error and friction.

              9. Managing Millennials

              Your team plays an integral part in whether your business will accelerate at breakneck speeds or be dragged down by dead weight. Hence, it is imperative to be selective and strategic when choosing your team.

              In leaner small business teams, the addition of every new teammate can impact how your organization culture evolves.

              Today, learning to manage millennials has become an increasingly sought after skill as well due to the increasing proportion of them in the workforce[8]. Some brand them as strawberries that are easily bruised and others loath their need for “meaning” and wearing t-shirts to work.

              How to Develop This Skill

              Naturally, there are many misconceptions surrounding millennials, and various businesses would do well to leverage their unique skills.

              A couple of ways to manage a millennial team include:

              Encourage a Flat Team Structure With Open Communication

              Maintain clear professional lines between supervisors and subordinates but keep communication channels open to ensure no negativity festers.

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              Offer Constructive Feedback

              Baby boomers are well known for their straightforward approach to delivering feedback. Millennials, on the other hand, don’t always take feedback in a form that could be construed as deep criticism.

              Being constructive with feedback ensures that we don’t coddle millennial workers but also tell them the things they need to hear.

              10. Maintaining a Network of Connectivity

              Instead of proposing a business that’s ambitiously and entirely disruptive to the supply or process chain in a respective industry, foster connections with other companies that cater to the same target customers as long as they provide a different service.

              By creating partnerships, both you and other businesses thrive simultaneously through creative avenues for customers to utilize your products and services for a holistically improved user experience.

              Sole market disruption isn’t always the best strategy to take. Not everybody has the opportunity, bandwidth, or financial capacity to dominate and monopolize a marketplace. See your potential for integration into other businesses and services as a good opportunity for co-collaborative marketing efforts with shared campaigns, split costs, and a strengthened customer database for everyone to tap into.

              How to Develop This Skill

              Regardless of the stage your business is in, never stop looking for ways to expand your network. Keep in contact with mentors you can look to for valuable industry advice that can help you avoid pitfalls and costly mistakes. Strengthen brand awareness by attending cross-industry events and casual meet-ups to open your business to reinvention and innovation.

              As the African proverb goes:

              “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

              Collaborating will get you where you want to go quicker and gear you up for further growth.

              More Tips on How to Succeed in Business

              Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

              Reference

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