As a delivery driver, staying alert on the road is a difficult task as travelling can be very tiring, especially with long-distance journeys. Here are 10 ways to help you stay cautious and safe whilst driving on the road.
Eat a healthy meal
It may seem easy to stop off at a fast-food chain, as it tastes great and you feel energized due to the salt content but, after a short amount of time, the energy levels decrease.
On the other hand, it can be easy when covering a lot of miles to forget to feed yourself, so keeping yourself energised and focused requires a substantial amount of food.
If you start feeling hungry while driving, foods with high-fat content are a bad choice. They’re more likely to make you feel sleepy, so stick to healthy snacks like peanuts, bananas or cereal bars. They’re full of slow-release energy which will keep your stamina higher for longer. Also, the best meals to have whilst driving long distance is lean meats, whole grains and vegetables as these foods increase your energy levels, that also last a long time.
Make sure you have a bottle of water in the car before you begin your journey. It’s very easy to become dehydrated without realising it. Just sitting in a hot, stuffy car can quickly drain your fluid levels, and that’s before factoring in your concentration on the road. Hydration levels are a key factor in keeping your mind and body sharp in general life so they’re all the more important when trying to keep your concentration going.
Dehydration can make you feel exhausted so focus on drinking water or vitamin-enriched smoothies to keep you going through the long journeys.
Drink caffeinated drinks
Caffeinated drinks can be helpful for brain function and can make you more alert. It’s also worth stopping at least once on your journey for a caffeine top-up, but an important thing is to not become over-reliant.
If you feel like you really need caffeine to stay awake, you probably need to stop and get sleep. Caffeine is only a short-term solution, and the boost fades fast. If you keep throwing more caffeine at the problem, you won’t make yourself any more alert and you might struggle to sleep after your journey as well.
A quick solution before pulling over to take a break is opening up your windows to let the oxygen flow through your vehicle, as it can help renew your energy levels.
Take regular breaks
Driving requires a lot of concentration, especially on faster roads like the motorway. So taking regular breaks can keep you focused and fresh on the road. You should have a 20-minute break for every 2 hours of driving. This might seem frustrating and can add a lot of time onto already long journeys, but it’s certainly worth it.
Planning your breaks in advance will be very beneficial as you’ll have a rough idea of where you’re going to stop before you set off. If you have to stop for fuel, make sure you use the time to stretch and have a short walk and a drink as well.
Take a quick nap
Whether this is before your drive or midway through when you pull up in a safe spot, a nap is proven to recharge your energy levels. Even taking an hour to have a short nap is better than nothing and it gives your body time to rest and re-energise.
Turn the music up
Music can affect your mood which overall, affects your energy levels. Listening to music is a great way of passing the time and can distract you from the long journey, if you get bored of your music you can always listen to an audiobook to keep you hooked.
Sleep well the night before
Everyone should sleep between 7 and 9 hours a day to reduce stress and keep the body relaxed. This is important when driving for a long time as it allows the driver to be relaxed and able to concentrate.
Blue light interference can affect the ability to get a proper nights rest, this is due to mobile phones and an uncomfortable climate. Reducing the impact of blue light is simple. Most devices now have a blue light filter, which you can schedule to come on in the evening. Experts advise that we stop looking at our phone screen 30 minutes before we go to sleep. To make your room cooler, remove blankets or use a thinner duvet. If it’s too hot, add blankets and a thicker duvet if possible. If it’s too light, use a blindfold or buy thicker curtains to create the perfect sleeping space.
Having good posture is essential when driving for a long period of time, as it can cause cramps, pins and needles, an aching neck and stiffness. Your vehicle should be set up correctly in order for the seat to suit your driving position. This way, everyone is comfortable and safe at all times.
Avoid drowsy medication or drinks
There are certain drinks and medications that make you feel drowsy. Avoid taking the medicine while you’re on the road and find out if there are side effects before your journey. If you’re still worried about driving, talk to your doctor, they may be able to prescribe you something better.
Some prescription medications such as strong hay fever tablets (among others) can make you feel sleepy and drowsy. This drowsiness lowers your alertness level and leaves you liable to make mistakes.
Here are some warning signs of drowsiness during long-distance driving:
- You have difficulty focusing or start daydreaming
- You experience wandering or disconnected thoughts
- Frequent blinking
- You have trouble keeping your head up or a heavy feeling in your eyelids
- You can’t remember the last few miles or you start missing exits or signs
- You start yawning or rubbing your eyes frequently
- You start feeling restless or irritable
- You start drifting from your lane or tailgating another driver
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