We’ve all done it, stayed on the road when we were really to sleepy to be driving. No matter how well you plan, you may find yourself getting drowsy at the wheel. Here are some tips to help you stay alert and safe…
Sing along with the radio. Sing without the radio. Sing a real song you remember, or sing something you make up as you go along. Sing anything, and you’ll keep your brain a little bit more active. But don’t hum! Humming will lull you right off to sleep.
Talk to another person ~
If you have someone riding with you, talk to them. The give and take of the conversation will help keep you focused. I know one person who used to deliberately start arguments with his girlfriend on long car trips. He said the yelling kept him awake. It worked for him, although they’re not together anymore.
Talk to yourself ~
If you’re driving alone, talk to yourself. Tell a story about something that happened to you, as if someone else was listening. Try to remember as much detail as you can about the event, and describe it to an imaginary listener.
Do some math ~
Keep your mind alert by doing mathematics out loud. Try to recite all the prime numbers, or do the less-common times tables (such as the 17s, or the 47s). Do factor trees out loud. Determine the value of pi to as many digits as you can before you reach your destination.
Count something ~
Choose one type of object. Something not too uncommon, but also not likely to appear every mile. Something such as a particular type of vehicle, or a specific brand of gas station that advertises on bill boards. Keep an eye out for your item to appear, and count how many instances there are of it within a set period of miles. Actively searching for your item will help keep you mentally alert.
Listen to a story ~
The best car stories are suspenseful, so that you stay awake and keep paying attention to see what will happen next. If you can’t get one of your passengers to tell a good story, consider getting a good book on tape. Libraries loan books on tape, (and books on CD), so you can take a selection of stories with you on your next trip without any expense.
Drive in daylight ~
Whenever possible, drive during daylight hours. Our bodies are genetically programmed to be sleepy when it’s dark and alert when there’s light. You can give yourself an edge just by arranging to do most of your driving when the sun is up.
If all else fails, get some sleep. Sometimes nothing else will do. A little catnap at a safe rest area will do wonders to refresh you, and help you be a safer driver.
Please click on the author’s name (above the article) to read more of her work on Associated Content.