Howto: Stay awake at the wheel

Most of us will have to drive a long distance at some point in our lives and we would all like to do so safely. Whether we are going on vacation or moving cross the country, getting the drive over with as quickly as possible is usually the objective.

Most of us will have to drive a long distance at some point in our lives and we would all like to do so safely. Whether we are going on vacation or moving cross the country, getting the drive over with as quickly as possible is usually the objective.

Before embarking on your four-wheeled adventure, consider the following criterions that John Musinguzi, is a truck driver who for 11 years has frequently crossed the different boarders of EAC, highlights to help you stay alert and safe.

Know your route

Be sure to plan out your trip well ahead of time and get yourself a quality road map and determine the best route to take. Study your route often and become familiar with the names of towns.

The more you familiarize yourself with the route, the less often you will need to refer to your map while driving. Also, determine where the major centers are along your route for meal and bathroom breaks and where you might need to stay for the night.

Plan ahead

Book hotels in advance if you can or you may find yourself in a town hosting an event that takes up every room. Avoiding long weekends could give your mind enough time to settle.

Traveling during a holiday period is the worst time for traffic and the peak time for highway accidents. Avoid weekends and peak travel times as much as possible. Plan your trip to take place from Monday to Thursday. Friday and Sunday or Monday evenings will be the busiest times on the road.

Take the day before of your trip to finish packing and running last minute household tasks. And remember to get some sleep.

Are you a night owl?

To avoid the traffic, it is sometimes wise to leave late in the evening when the traffic has settled down and drive through the night. There is much less traffic on the highways and a lot less distraction.

Night driving however is not for everyone, not everyone is able to stay awake during those hours and you run the risk of falling asleep while driving. If you are not comfortable or able to drive at night, keep your driving times to daylight hours only.

Also be aware that at night, the risk of animals on the highway and the inability to see them increases. Heavy truck traffic will also increase since truck drivers take advantage of the reduction in traffic at this time.

If you can only drive for a few hours at a time, don’t try to push it for longer. If you are driving a long distance for the first time, break it up into small intervals. Be prepared to stop for the night if you are not able to drive through it.

If you’ve gone a long distance and only have a few more miles to go but just can’t hang on, pull off and take a nap, better to be safe than sorry.

Coffee can help you stay awake but too much coffee is not good for us. Consider high-energy drinks or chocolateas an alternative. Be aware of your body’s ability to process caffeine if you are not a regular coffee drinker.
 
Staying alert

Sharing driving if you have someone along for the trip could be important because it helps each other stay alert while driving. Talking helps both of you to pay attention to the road while driving.

Keep the interior temperature of the vehicle comfortably cool for you. If you have it too warm, your ability to be alert and stay awake will be diminished. Also avoid direct air to your face since it will dry out your eyes and increase your sleepiness.

A few hours into a long drive and any car’s armrest can start to feel like a rock. Bring pillows just to make your car very comfortable, but try not to get so comfortable that you fall asleep. Have your drink and snacks handy, and play your favorite music.

Never and never stop on the side of the road to take a sleep. Find a rest stop, truck stop anywhere that you will not run the risk of being struck by an approaching vehicle. Never park on the shoulder of the road, not even to read the map. Don’t assume that all approaching vehicles will pass by you safely.

Assertively, long distance driving can be fun and exhausting at the same time. Keep safety in mind when driving at all times.

Contact: pauluskayiggwa@yahoo.com

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