Traveling, you know, is tiring. In the car, in fact, when you are on long journeys you must always keep your concentration high to drive safely and effectively. A long journey, especially now in winter with many hours of darkness, can be extremely dangerous: i strokes of sleep they are in fact around the corner, and should not be underestimated. So how do you stay awake while driving? Today we try to answer this question here at Auto for Dummies, the techprincess Friday column that tells you the secrets of the automotive world. Hey, please stay awake!
How to know when you are really tired while driving
Let’s start immediately from the basis of the problem, that is understand when you are really tired while driving. Driving with a little tiredness and exhaustion can in fact “pass”, even if the advice is to drive only when you are fit, even for good stretches. But when you are facing a long journey, especially in the dark winter, it is very useful knowing when you are at risk of falling asleep before it’s too late. According to a study ACI, indeed, over 800 Italians die on the streets every year due to sleepiness.
Knowing how to recognize the symptoms and act accordingly is therefore basic to ensure your safety. In fact, it does not matter how much you sleep every night, if you have a varied and balanced diet and if you do physical activity: the stroke of sleep while driving can affect anyone, so it is essential to know how to recognize it. This is because a fall asleep while driving shows up first with gods almost unequivocal symptoms. In addition to an obvious state of fatigue, you can recognize that you are in sleep “territory” for these signals that your body sends you. First of all, you will begin to yawn continuously, your eyes will start to burn, especially at night looking at the lights of other cars, and the eyelids will get heavier and heavier.
These are the most common symptoms of tired driving, and it is when you see them that you should start using ours advice to stay awake while driving. In addition, for more than a decade, the has come to help you recognize the signs of fatigue when driving technology. In 2009, indeed, Mercedes-Benz launched a new safety system on its E-Class, l’Attention Assist. This system continuously monitors the driver by checking his level of attention. Like? By monitoring both the face of the driver, but above all by verifying the input he gives to the car. According to Mercedes, in fact, when you are about to have a fall asleep they put themselves into practice unmistakable steering corrections, and the way you hold the steering wheel is also totally different.
In the event of an excessive level of fatigue, the car plays an acoustic and a visual signal, a small cup of coffee in the dashboard, to signal to the driver that it is time to stop. Since that 2009, attention level monitoring systems have made great strides and can now be found on almost every model, from the most luxurious cars to the smallest cars. With lasers, sensors and cameras aimed at the driver, his parameters are checked, but now they have also spread active lane keeping and automatic emergency braking systems. While it is still extremely dangerous to fall asleep while driving, 2021 automobiles go to great lengths to help drivers have as few problems as possible in the event of fatigue. But how can you stay awake while driving and not risk anything? Let’s find out together.
The main tip for staying awake while driving is… take a nap: the Power Nap technique
Let’s start with the main advice, the one you absolutely must put into practice if you ever feel tired while driving. The most effective trick to staying awake while driving is… take a nap. It may seem strange for sure, but when the fatigue becomes excessive the only way to get strong is to sleep. So when you recognize that you are tired or the car warns you that you need a break, a short sleep is the most effective. But be careful not to sleep too much, as it could have the opposite effect.
According to theAIMS, the Italian Academy of Medical Residents, is in fact, it is recommended not to sleep for more than 20-30 minutes. In this way, the brain, the eyes and our whole body regain energy and vitality, but yeswithout falling into a deep sleep. In fact, arriving to fall asleep deeply or in the famous REM phase, you risk getting a opposite and counterproductive effect. Surely it will have happened to you at least once to fall asleep for an hour during the afternoon. And just as surely you will have woken up more tired and dazed than before. This happens because, by abruptly interrupting the phase of deep sleep, the body has not completed a complete cycle of rest, and wants to bring you to finish it.. Sleeping too much would lead to drowsiness, tiredness and exhaustion, just what you wanted to reduce.
To avoid all this then stop at a gas station, turn off the car and lower the seat, or recline on the rear sofa. Then set an alarm about thirty minutes later, and after this nap you will be ready to go again. This type of short but energetic rest is called Power Nap, or energizing nap: by doing it, you will certainly feel more energized!
Stretching, taking a break, walking – getting in motion helps you stay awake while driving
However, not everyone can afford to sleep in the car due to the need for time, space or the habitability of their car. Therefore, although Power Nap is the most suitable and effective method, there are others alternative methods that you can use to stay awake while driving. For example, one of the most useful and used tips is that of take a break from time to time and periodically stretch out in a service area. After tens and tens of km, as much as you are passionate about engines, a long journey by car becomes monotonous. Therefore, breaks are not only useful, but highly recommended.
Taking short breaks, getting out of the car to relax and untying your legs is very useful. Especially in the cold season, taking a short walk in the fresh air, maybe a bit of stretching and taking a break from driving is in fact a real panacea. The movement of the body in fact brings oxygen to the blood circulation, and breaks the monotony of the motorway journey. All this has a single, fundamental pro: increase the ability to concentrate once back to driving.
Entertainment is key: podcasts, music, conversation. And avoid too much heating if you want to stay awake while driving
The energizing nap and the restorative break are the most effective tips for the fight against sleepiness. To stay awake while driving, however, there are also other methods a little less effective, but to be used without problems perhaps added to the others. One of the big problems of long car journeys is the monotony of travel in itself: after so many hours, in fact, boredom can play tricks. For this reason, to stay awake while driving a good method is to keep yourself entertained and busy.
Listen to the rock music or sing your favorite songs, listen to a podcast or audiobook, or converse with your travel companion when you are lucky enough to travel with friends. All these activities will keep you going awake, alert and will reduce the tendency to fall asleep. But pay attention to listening to music too loud. If this, intuitively, can wake up our body immediately, listening to music at very high volume ends up stun us. This would further reduce the attention threshold and forcing us to use precious energy to keep concentration high.
In addition to entertainment, there is a lot of attention to be paid to it temperature inside the passenger compartment. Keep one too high a temperature could lead to a “cradle” effect. Your brain, relaxed from the warmth, could lead you to think that you are really comfortable, like under the covers … and from there, sleepiness is just around the corner. Therefore, keep a cool temperature to help your body stay toned and awake. Every now and then travel with the window down a little, weather permitting. By changing the air, the stale air in your passenger compartment is replaced by fresh and clean external air. This makes the whole environment more welcoming and clean, there will be more oxygen inside the passenger compartment and the fresh air keeps you awake.
But be careful: all these tips they work, but in the long run they can stress and tire the brain. Don’t just rely on music and the open window, but always take advantage of walks and naps. These are diversions, which help to overcome the monotony of the journey. But when you are too tired, it is time to stop. If you are traveling with friends, for example, you can make you give the change so that you arrive at your destination safely, and tired in the same way.
Pay attention to nutrition and medication, and drink a lot: the psycho-physical state is fundamental
To stay awake while driving is essential being in an optimal physical and psychological state. We must therefore be very careful about what we eat before leaving, to keep hydrated and satisfied during the trip, but not only. There are, for example, drugs that among the contraindications on the package book indicate “drowsiness while driving and” decrease in the attention span “, up to a possible fall asleep. These undesirable effects concern not only i sleeping pills, but also psychotropic drugs, pain relievers, or allergy medications. And if you suffer from insomnia or sleep disturbances, a long journey may be more difficult.
For this reason, if you take medications for allergies or diseases and are planning a long trip, contact your doctor to find out if you can travel without risk. Plus, like when we told you how to leave safely for the summer holidays, it’s good leave after eating light food and without exaggerating. Traveling after eating too much, but also after eating too little, is very dangerous. Both situations can lead drowsiness, and staying awake while driving could become very complicated ….