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A new survey suggests that one in ten UK drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel of their car. That equates to around 4 million motorists. The survey, provided by IAM Roadsmart, provided some concerning statistics regarding the frequency that people may dose off at the wheel of their car.
Here we provide you with the Top 20 tips to avoid nodding off whilst driving.
- Get out of the car for a few minutes and stretch
- Drink plenty of fluids before you start driving, especially water
- Avoid eating large meals or heavy snacks before you drive
- Keep your eyes on the road and avoid looking at your phone
- Turn up the music to stay awake - it is proven that background noise can help keep people alert when they are tired
- If you feel sleepy, pull over to take a nap or have a coffee break until you feel more awake again!
- Keep a travel mug of coffee or tea in your car
- Turn the air conditioning off and open the windows if it is summertime, but be careful not to let too much heat into the car
- Try taking more prolonged, more frequent breaks between destinations (e.g., every half hour instead of every hour) - this can help reduce drowsiness while driving by giving you enough rest without having to stop for long periods
- Drive slower than usual; speeding up can make it more difficult for you to stay awake
- Avoid driving during rush hour traffic so that there is less congestion and fewer distractions around you
- Alternate drivers with friends or family members who have had an adequate sleep beforehand so that they can drive instead of staying awake themselves just because they want someone else's
- Try to keep your eyes focused on the road and horizon, rather than looking at your phone or a passenger in the car
- Keep your hands relaxed on the wheel (don't grip tightly)
- Take regular breaks from driving - 10-20 minutes every two hours is recommended by experts
- Avoid alcohol - it can make you tired and affect how well you react to sudden hazards while driving
- Avoid driving late at night
- Make sure you are well rested before you get in the car
- Keep your eyes open and focused ahead, rather than looking at what is happening in your periphery
- Put a rubber band around your wrist or have someone else do so for you, then use it to snap yourself every time they see that you are starting to drift off into sleep while driving.
Trying to drive when you're too tired to stay awake is a potentially fatal mistake. So if you find yourself dozing off behind the wheel, stop driving and take a nap before getting back on the road. In some cases, even if it's just for 10 minutes, that can be enough time to feel refreshed and ready to drive again with less risk of falling asleep at the wheel or crashing into something in your sleep-deprived state.
Ultimately if you are too tired to drive, then do not drive at all.