Summer is a time when the kids are out of school and many families plan vacations. Often times these vacations include road trips. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into planning the perfect trip, but even with all of that planning, many forget to account for fatigue.
In this month’s sleep education video, Dr. Durmer explains that when families take to the roads, the chances of the driver falling asleep on the highway during long, monotonous trips increases. Research has shown that over one-third of people have driven while drowsy. For some trips, driving periods may extend late into the evening or even through the night. Operating a vehicle while tired can result in a lack of focus, slower reaction times, and a greater potential of being involved in an accident.
For the safety of traveling families and everyone on the road, drivers must strive to remain alert and attentive. Before embarking on your next family road trip, please consider these helpful recommendations:
- Start the Journey After Quality Sleep – It may be tempting to avoid traffic by driving odd hours, but it’s best to begin your trip when you feel most awake.
- Make Time for Breaks – Plan for a 15-20 minute break every two hours throughout your drive.
- Avoid What Makes You Tired – Don’t take medication which may cause drowsiness. Stay away from soft, calming music that could cause you to daydream.
- Increase Wakeful Stimuli – Play upbeat music, drive with the windows down, or engage with other passengers in the car.
These recommendations will help you avoid drowsy driving. However, even if you’ve taken the necessary precautions, it’s still possible to grow tired during long drives. A split second of nodding off can be just long enough for an accident to occur. So, if you do start to feel yourself dozing off, go ahead and find a safe place to pull over and refresh. Stretching, walking around, and taking a snack break are great ways to recharge the body and brain for another stint of driving.
Taking steps to maximize wakefulness in order to stay alert can save your family from a road trip accident this year and insure your vacation memories are good ones. After all, road trips are best when everyone reaches the destination safely.
If you have any questions or need more information on healthy sleep while traveling, contact the FusionHealth Participant Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-615-7257.