Drowsy driving is one of the many causes of road accidents in the Philippines. While it can be easily averted, it is still hard to identify if one is too tired to drive at the start of the trip. Because this is just as dangerous as drunk driving, we’ve listed down some tips to avoid road accidents caused by sleepiness on the wheel but before that, the National Sleep Foundation provided a list of signs that it’s time to pull over.
When you experience even one of these signs, it’s a great idea to not be too comfortable and do something to negate the fatigue. A quick moment of nodding off can be terribly dangerous especially when you’re running a speed of 100kph -- a second of not seeing the road translates into 30 meters with no control, and a lot can happen in there. Here are some tips to stay awake on the road:
It doesn’t hurt to pull over to take a short nap. A 15 to 20-minute rest just to give your body the immediate rest in needs will take you far. Do not worry about being late, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Look for a safe space to park and rest it out.
Walk it off
For an immediate energy release, getting out of the car to take a short walk will help normalize blood circulation. Remember that our bodies are designed for active stuff and not sitting all day. If you lack enough sleep, make it a point to stop over to use the comfort rooms, or whatever it is that will make you move your body out of your vehicle’s comfortable seat.
For a temporary energy boost and increased awareness, a moderate dose of caffeine helps a lot. The intensity and duration of effect are different for each person. I drive alone from Manila to Daet, Camarines Norte (which is about 360 km in distance) from time to time and there were occasions when I didn’t have enough sleep. One cup of coffee is enough to last me 3 hours on the road. A little more than that and my mind becomes easily distracted because of excessive energy. Again, the effect depends on each person’s capacity to take in caffeine.
It doesn’t matter if it’s Ray-Ban or Sunnies. The idea is to not let your eyes get strained enough for them to squint. Aside from lowering your visibility, it takes a lot of muscle work just to squint and believe it or not, it causes fatigue and decreases alertness. It definitely won’t hurt to sport a pair of sunglasses when the sun is high -- you will also look cool, especially when the windows are open! Just don’t wear them at night!
Drive with a Partner
For long drives, it is always better to drive with a partner. Your buddy knows how to drive? Then let him switch places with you so you can take a short nap when the sandman starts to bug you. Your buddy doesn’t know how to drive? Then at least he should how to fill the silence. A good conversation helps stimulate the brain to contribute more facts especially when it gets interesting.
Drinking a Bottle of Beer Keeps You Awake, More Will Make You Sleep
We’d be happy if this is real but this is more of a joke than a fact. DO NOT DO THIS. While some people claim this works for them, it’s always been a fact that even a small dose of alcohol induces drowsiness. Supposedly, we drink alcohol to feel relaxed and getaway from all the stress and pressure of the world. It is better spent with friends. But with your car? What a dangerous combination.
Pour Cold Water on Yourself
I remember the time when I was driving home from Makati (I was a call center agent) and EDSA was excessively congested. It was 10am in the morning and it felt like everything was floating. I was falling asleep whenever the traffic stops! I decided to buy a cold bottle of water from a street peddler and started pouring its contents on myself! IT DIDN’T WORK, JUST ANOTHER MYTH! I included this on the list due to the fact that what fought the sleepiness off was the embarrassment I brought myself into when people started noticing what I was doing.
The next time you find yourself experiencing extreme relaxation to the point of dozing off -- when everything looks like a dream to you -- don’t act tough. Instead, fight it out using these tips and take your time. It’s better to be late than never.
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