In order to be able to drive safely and efficiently you have to be well rested. Having a good night sleep before a journey will help you to be concentrated while you drive. Feeling tired makes you less alert and increases your normal reaction time. Fatigue can significantly deteriorate your driving skills. In fact, driving when tired can be compared to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are on a long journey, it is recommended to stop for about 20 minute break every 2 hours. Every driver must be familiar with typical fatigue signs in order to notice it early enough and have a break.    

First of all, there are several things you can do to avoid fatigue during your journey.

How to avoid tiredness while driving?

  • Have a good night sleep before a long journey.
  • Allow at least 15 minute break every two hours of driving, plan your journey accordingly.
  • Avoid driving between midnight and 6 am in the morning. This is the time when your natural level of alertness is at its minimum and there is little you can do to avoid fatigue during these hours. 
  • If you feel unwell or tired, do not begin to drive. You have to be in good health in order to alert on the road. 
  • Be aware of typical fatigue signals, such as difficulty to keep eyes open, frequent yawning, feeling cold, etc. (see below) If you notice any of fatigue signals, stop in a safe place and rest. If you keep on driving despite feeling tired, you risk lives.
  • If you absolutely have to continue your journey despite being tired, the most effective way to be more alert is to drink some coffee or to take a power nap. Also keep your vehicle well ventilated with cool air.  
  • In case of taking medication, always check the label to make sure that among its side effects is not mentioned excessive sleepiness.
  • Avoid large and heavy meals on a long journey. After a heavy meal you naturally feel sleepy. Always drink a cup of coffee after a meal. 

So, how exactly tiredness affects our body? 

  • Tiredness decreases our ability to concentrate 
  • Tiredness slows down decision-making processes in our brain
  • Tiredness increases our reaction time

General advice to reduce fatigue

  • Keep enough fresh air in the vehicle, make sure you have enough ventilation.
  • Do not keep the interior of the car too warm
  • Avoid heavy meals
  • Drink coffee or water

Typical fatigue signs

  • Frequent yawning
  • Difficulty in keeping a steady course while driving
  • Difficulty to keep eyes open
  • Feeling of irritation
  • Relaxation of neck muscles
  • Difficulty in keeping the steady course on the road
  • Dryness of mouth
  • Feeling cold
  • Feeling lack of concentration and alertness
  • Feeling drowsy

If you notice any of fatigue signals, you should stop in a safe place and rest. Remember, the state you are in when tired is comparable to the influence of alcohol or drugs. Don't risk, drive safe!