The best ways to stay alert during a long-haul drive
Whether it's a road trip, for work or another reason entirely, long-haul drives are draining, even for the most experienced driver. They often start out fun and exciting, but as the hours pass by, it's all too easy to catch yourself getting tired or daydreaming behind the wheel - which can be incredibly dangerous to both you and any passengers you may be carrying. That's why it's always important to properly prepare yourself for a long drive, so you can get to where you're going safely and without problems. Don’t worry though, we’ve got some great tips to help you stay alert and vigilant behind the wheel!
And if you’re looking for a vehicle to take you to your long-haul destination, look no further than Intack Self Hire! With our trusty tips and reliable Flexi hire and daily hire services, you can rest assured that we'll get you exactly where you need to be - hassle-free!
Take breaks frequently
Our first long-haul driving tip is to take breaks frequently. Don’t try and push through. It’s important to give your eyes a chance to take a break from looking at the endless stretch of road. Getting up and stretching your body every couple of hours is also good. Having an achy back and neck with sore, tired eyes to match isn’t going to make the experience a pleasant one - and it’s going to speed up your body’s fatigue. So every few hours, either pull into a service station and take a quick break, or even pull off the road and get out of the car and stretch your legs - safety permitting, of course!
Try to drive in the morning after a good night's sleep
If possible, it’s always a good idea to start a long-haul drive in the morning after a full night's rest. Not only will you feel fresher and more alert, but the light from the sun is also a natural wake-up call for our bodies and you’re less likely to feel drowsy. There’s also much more stimulation around on the roads during the day, other cars, people, it’s bright, all of which will contribute to you staying switched on. However, we understand that it’s not always possible to plan drives for during the day, so if you have to drive at night here are a few things you can do to keep yourself in the driving zone:
- Chew a minty chewing gum
- Listen to some of your favourite upbeat music or a funny podcast
- Crack a window and let some fresh air into the vehicle
And if you’re feeling drowsy, always pull over! Never try to drive when you’re tired, your reaction times will be delayed to the point in which it’s no longer safe. It’s always better to pull over and have a 20-minute power nap if you need to.
Stay hydrated and caffeinated
Staying hydrated helps with fatigue, so always stock up on water before you set off. Sipping on water throughout the journey will keep you feeling fresh and focused. Drinking water is essential if you’re also going to be drinking caffeine. Caffeine and long-haul drives go hand-in-hand; whether coffee or tea, caffeine stimulates the body and increases focus, so it’s the perfect companion for staying alert. However, it is a diuretic, so ensure you have plenty of water to chug alongside it so you don’t start dehydrating.
Opt for light snacks instead of heavy meals
If you pack some food or snacks or even stop at a service station for a quick bite, opt for something light. Eating when you’re hungry is important, as low blood sugar levels can lead to fatigue, but eating a large, unhealthy amount can negatively impact your ability to stay alert. For example, eating a carbohydrate and protein-dense meal makes you more likely to feel sleepier than eating fruits or vegetables. So, it’s best to stick to lighter and healthier foods when eating and driving, no matter how tempting the fast food looks.
If you keep all this in mind when preparing for your long-haul drive, you’ll get from A to B with no problems! And if these tips have given you the confidence boost you needed to make your first long-haul drive, why not do it with one of our cars, vans or minibuses at Intack Self Drive? Whether it's just for a day trip or something a little longer, like a weekend getaway, our reliable and affordable daily hire and Flexi-hire services make your life easy!