Have you ever felt drowsy when on the wheel? Well, do you know what to do if you feel sleepy while driving?
Going by the FRSC figures for 2017, 5,121 persons died as a result of road accidents in Nigeria in 2017. How many of those fatalities were caused by sleeping off at the wheel, you wonder.
A lot of research on the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proved that about 72,000 crashes, 800 deaths, and 44,000 injuries were caused by drowsy driving in 2013. Some other parties and research are of the opinion that these figures are lower, compared to what the figures should actually be.
They suggest that it can go as way up as 6000 fatal crashes. Whether more or less than these figures, it still does not dispute the fact that it is dangerous to drive when feeling sleepy.
Sleeping when driving is fairly common and dangerous!
Falling asleep when driving is a normal danger
Feeling sleepy is a natural phenomenon that no human can avoid or do without. When it comes, it is nature’s call. However, where and when to do obey this nature’s call goes a very long way to ensuring safety. Being drowsy when driving is a constant risk or occurrence for those who ply and use the roads, especially at night.
It is pertinent also to note that the same consequences and feelings are experienced when on drugs and alcohol as someone dozing off when driving; so one has to be very careful, so as to avoid unnecessary accidents.
In this article, Naijauto.com will be giving you certain, useful tips that will help you combat and overcome drowsiness.
What to do to avoid sleeping while driving
1. Drive with a friend who knows how to drive
Whenever you are going on a trip, go along with a friend or buddy, especially if your journey is very far or you are going on a long road trip. This is essential so that if one party is tired or feels drowsy, the other party can take over the wheel, allowing the former to sleep.
This strategy has gone a long way through the years to ensure safety. It is very useful if you have anyone you work with living around you or family and friends who are commuting along the same route as you are. By the way, these are the best commute cars you can get cheaply in Nigeria.
Have some fun driver-friends along on the trip
2. Take a short power nap
Before you begin your journey, you should try to take a quick nap to strengthen your muscles and fight off fatigue. If you are already on the journey and feel sleepy, simply pull over to the side, drop the blinds, wind up the glass, lock the doors and take a power nap.
Many drivers do not realize when they feel sleepy or how close they are to crashing so they think it should not affect their driving ability. However, a little drowsiness can put yourself and other road users at risk. A study on Rapid Eye Movement (REM) in 2012 proves that even something as short as a 10 minutes nap can keep you going, refreshed, and alert for hours.
The National Sleep Association in the USA also has endorsed getting quick naps before continuing the journey.
3. Play favourite music or tunes
When you play your favourite Nigerian driving songs or music and hum along, it keeps you alert. You can also sing along with the lyrics of the songs, which stimulates your brain and keeps it refreshed. When you hum these songs, they find their way into your emotional space and you unconsciously sway in body movements.
This sends drowsiness far away from you throughout the journey. Also, increasing your music to over 55 decibels (90 decibels maximum) will keep you from feeling drowsy.
Good music might just be the lifesaver you need
4. Take some caffeine
Research has proven that caffeine is a legal stimulant as well as the most popular one. It has proved that it can help you throughout the day to function without being drowsy. This is especially so when your day includes driving.
A 2012 research and study of caffeine have stated that just one cup can reduce, drastically, the effects of being deprived of sleep. We know this could cause drowsiness while driving. So, when you feel sleepy when driving, please do take some caffeine and you are good to continue on the journey.
Coffee does the trick every time
5. Take a walking break
While not always practical, especially if you are a woman driving at night. When your eyes begin to feel too heavy, please do take a break. Do this by alighting from the car, locking all the doors, and taking a walk down the road. It’s normal for you to feel drowsy when you sit too long in a particular place. Taking a walking break will do you more good than harm. However, please read these road safety tips for women if you are a woman driving alone.
6. Ensure your vehicle is ventilated
When your car feels too warm and comfortable for you, there is a high tendency to feel sleepy or drowsy. So, it is better to ensure your vehicle is ventilated and always cool. Open some windows or switch on your air-conditioner for a good and adequate flow of fresh air. When you do this, you feel much less sleepy.
Don't make your car too comfortable
7. Taking Energy Snacks at intervals
The human body needs a lot of energy for sustainability and this can be gotten from having very healthy meals. You are tempted to chew some snacks or junk foods but be aware that they cannot keep you awake throughout the journey. This is because when you take a lot of foods that are high in fat or carbohydrate, they make you feel very tired and sluggish.
This can be dangerous because when you feel tired and sluggish, the next agenda to follow would be drowsiness and sleep. Instead, it is advisable to take snacks that are high in energy like protein bars, bananas, or even nuts. Whole grains and lean protein are the best for the journey.
After eating these foods, try to take a vitamin pill which will go a long way in keeping you awake on your long drive. You should see your doctor about this so that these vitamin pills will not interfere with or affect any existing medications.
Eating can help, but the right snack though
8. Midnight arrivals
The hours between nights and mornings, i.e the hours between 1 a.m and 5 a.m are very delicate and it is when the body really needs sleep. If driving at night cannot be avoided, you should try as much as you can to split your trip into two phases and spend your night at the nearest hotel.
See the dangers of driving and sleeping in the video below.
Video: Falling Asleep While Driving Compilation
It can be very challenging to drive safely on the roads even without feeling sleepy so the above tips will keep you going. Now you know what to do if you feel sleepy while driving, always do your best to be safe and alert always.
>>> Also check out Naijauto.com driving tips here!