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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 September 20, 2018

              How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

              How to Be Happy at Work and Find Fulfillment in Your Career

              If you’re going to spend 1/3 of our life at work, you should enjoy it, right?

              Trust me, I know that’s easier said than done. Difficult coworkers, less-than-desirable tasks, or even just being in the wrong position can all lead to a lack of enjoyment and fulfillment in your work.

              But what if I told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Or better yet, if you struggle with all of the above (and then some), what if I told you that enjoying your work and finding fulfillment regardless of those obstacles is possible?

              Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you because I was there too. Before implementing the tips below, I struggled to get through each day, much less find real fulfillment, in the office. Now, even after the toughest days on the job, I still come away with feelings of pride, accomplishment, and fulfillment. The best news is, so can you.

              If you’re ready to make those hours count and find happiness and fulfillment in the office, then read on to find out how to be happy at work and find fulfillment in your career:

              1. Discover the root(s) of the problem

              For this first step, we’ll need to think back to 8th-grade physics (humor me). We all know Newton’s 3rd law, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” When you think about it, the same can be said outside of physics, and we see this law play out in our daily lives, day after day.

              Simply put, all the issues we deal with in the office (and life in general) affect us in a noticeable way.

              If you’re appreciated at work, like the work you do and receive frequent praise, promotions, or raises, then this will probably have an altogether positive effect on your life in the office.

              But what if we reverse this? What if you feel under appreciated, get passed up for promotions, or get denied raises? This is sure to affect the way you feel at work on a negative level.

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              So, before you can implement the steps of feeling happy and fulfilled at work, we first have to discover the reasons why you don’t feel that way already.

              Think about it, write a list, or make a mental note. Run through all the reasons you’re dissatisfied in the office, and don’t hold back. Knowing the exact obstacles you’re facing will make overcoming them that much easier.

              In fact, as a side-challenge to this article, I recommend picking the top three reasons contributing to your dissatisfaction at work and using the following tips to tackle them.

              2. Practice gratitude for an instant uplift

              Did you know the simple act of feeling grateful can increase your happiness and make you more fulfilled at work?[1]

              Well, it’s true, and it’s scientifically proven.

              Dr. Lisa Firestone notes that practicing gratitude “reminds us of what we lacked in the past.” Meaning, it serves as both a boost to happiness and a bit of a wake-up call that things have been or could be, much worse.

              Trying to conjure up feelings of gratitude can seem almost impossible when your work situation seems bleak, but hear me out: There are incredibly easy ways to get started and it doesn’t involve trying to “force” yourself to feel grateful about things that stress you out.

              For an instant pick-me-up, try this:

              Find a loose piece of paper, a blank sticky note, or anything you can write on, be it physical or digital. List just three things that you are absolutely without-a-doubt thankful for in your life.

              Now here’s the trick: Don’t just list what you’re grateful for, you have to list why you’re grateful for them, too.

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              For example, simply saying “I’m grateful for my kids” will probably make you feel good, sure, but what if we could amplify the warm, fuzzy feeling into real, lasting motivation?

              Instead, write the reason you’re so thankful for your children. Is it because they make you laugh and forget about other stressors? Or maybe they help to remind you of why you go to work every day in the first place?

              Whatever your reasons may be, jot them down and keep your list somewhere you can see it while you work. A quick glance at your gratitude list throughout the day can provide powerful, positive motivation to keep going.

              Bonus:

              If you can find just three things to be thankful for that specifically relate to your job, and list why those things make you grateful, your list can also help you find fulfillment in your work itself which can give you an even bigger boost of positivity throughout the day.

              3. Take meaningful time for yourself

              We all know creating a strong work-life balance can be crucial to feeling satisfied in our jobs, but rarely do we ever address how we’re spending our time outside of work.

              Many of us survive a 9-hour work day and commute home only to find ourselves busy with our personal to-do lists, running a household, and taking care of a child (or 2 or 3, and so on).

              If you spend all your time working, whether in the office or within your household, you’re going to feel drained at some point. This is why setting meaningful time for yourself every day is highly important.

              Look, I get it: I don’t know anyone in the working world who can shun all responsibility for a 3-movie marathon or happy hour with friends whenever they feel like it. But finding time for yourself, be it just 30 minutes to an hour, can really make a difference in how you feel at work.

              This works because you’ll have time to actually relax and let the day’s stress melt away while you enjoy something just for you. The to-do lists and stressors will still be there after you’re refreshed and ready to tackle them.

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              No time for me-time? Try this:

              If you have a busy household, you’ll need to capitalize on a block of time you know will be completely uninterrupted. The easiest way to do this: try waking up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual (or push bedtime back an hour if you’re a night owl, like me) and take time to do something you enjoy.

              This could be reading with a cup of tea, catching up on Facebook, spending time on a passion project—anything! As long as it’s meaningful to you, it works!

              Bonus:

              Starting your day with meaningful time for yourself can set you up to have a positive mood that lasts well into office hours, and having your me-time in the evening can give you something positive to look forward to during the day.

              4. Get productive and feel accomplished

              Don’t you just love the feeling of checking the last item off of a hefty to-do list? That’s because self-motivation can be a huge driver of positivity and success.

              When we accomplish something, no matter how small, it makes us feel good, plain and simple. Applying this tactic to your daily work can be the motivator you need to find fulfillment during the daily office grind.

              While there are tons of steps to get more done at work, I’ll share my personal favorite: Prioritizing.

              Now, many people handle prioritizing differently. Some like to tackle the little tasks first so they can spend focused time on the big to-dos. Others like to knock out the big items first and get to the smaller ones when they can.

              No matter which camp you’re in, you may be missing one crucial step: Time management.

              So how’s this work? When you factor in the amount of time your priorities will take, it can transform your productivity ten-fold.

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              Say you have three top priorities for the day. You might jump into the smaller ones or the bigger ones depending on your preferred method, and then find yourself out of time and bringing work home with you at the end of the day.

              This is prevented when you factor in time. Knowing how long each item will take, or deliberately setting specific blocks of time for your priorities can help you accomplish more in the same 8-9 (or 12) hours that you typically spend at work.

              Try this:

              Take a look at your priorities and consider how long they should take. Pop into your Google calendar (or Filofax, whatever works for you) and schedule time to work on your priority items around any important meetings or events of the day.

              The most important thing to remember is to stick to your dedicated time.

              Often, when we know exactly how long we have to work on something (and honor this time limit), we’re motivated to get more done on time to avoid taking work home at the end of the day.

              The bottom line

              There’s no need to waste 1/3 of our lives feeling unsatisfied at work. Luckily, you now have the tools to get started, take back your time, and become happy and fulfilled at work again.

              The only question is — which tip will you try first?

              Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1]Psychology Today: The Healing Power of Gratitude

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