Vacations are a time to relax, explore and make lifelong memories – and you don’t want one of those lasting memories to be a wreck caused by drowsy driving.
Unfortunately, drowsy driving can pose significant risks to your safety and the safety of others while you’re vacationing. So, what can you do to avoid drowsy driving, aside from taking regular breaks along the way?
Rest up before you start
One of the most effective ways to prevent drowsy driving is to start your trip well-rested. Aim for at least 7 or more hours of quality sleep the night before you embark on your vacation. Adequate rest will enhance your alertness and ability to focus, reducing the likelihood of drowsiness during your journey.
Plan around your natural rhythms
Consider your natural sleep patterns when planning your travel itinerary. If possible, schedule your departure during times when you are typically awake. Starting super early may not be safe if you’re a night owl – while starting late isn’t good for people who are most alert in the morning. If you know that you tend to get drowsy in the afternoon, for example, plan ahead for a midday rest break.
Get a travel buddy
If you are traveling with a companion who is a good driver, take turns behind the wheel. Sharing the driving responsibilities helps eliminate fatigue and reduces the chances of dozing off behind the wheel.
Watch the meds you take
Carefully read the labels of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking – particularly if you suffer from summer allergies and usually take something for them. If a medication makes you drowsy, hold off until you’ve reached your destination.
Eat right and stay hydrated
Dehydration and unhealthy snacking can contribute to fatigue. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water during your journey, and opt for healthy snacks like fruits, nuts and protein bars to maintain your energy levels. Avoid heavy and greasy foods that may induce drowsiness.
By following these tips, you can minimize the risks associated with drowsy driving and stay safer, but there’s no eliminating all the hazards that others may cause. A dream vacation can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’re struck by a drowsy driver. If that happens, find out more about your legal options to recover your losses by seeking legal guidance.