With the Xmas break just around the corner, many Aussies are starting to prepare their holiday plans. With so many amazing destinations in our own homeland, it’s no surprise a domestic road trip is high on the list of preferred Xmas trips.
The festive season is a notoriously dangerous time to be on the road, so South Australia’s Royal Automobile Association (RAA) have prepared a great list of tips to help drivers fight fatigue this summer. Check out the tips below:
1. A 10-to-15-minute nap is shown to immediately improve alertness for about an hour. However, a 30-minute snooze fails to produce the same results, as your body will then start to enter into a deeper sleep. So find a safe place to pull over for a short siesta.
2. Eating a light meal or a fresh snack can help prevent fatigue; however, heavy meals and fatty foods can have the reverse effect as your body has to use too much energy to digest them and they contain chemicals that make you drowsy.
3. Drinking coffee, winding down the window and playing music are shown to help in the short term, but remember – the benefits are only brief. Sleep is the only cure.
4. Don’t let the interior of the car get too hot or stuffy as this can make you drowsy – ensure there’s fresh cool air circulating.
5. Be aware of the effects of any medications you’re taking and ask your GP or pharmacist for advice.6. Get enough quality sleep – this will not only reduce your risk of crashing but will also give you more energy throughout the whole day. Most people require at least seven to nine hours.
7. Avoid driving during high-risk times. Midnight to 6am and 2pm until 4pm are statistically the riskiest periods as they coincide with low-points in what scientists call our circadian rhythms – an unchangeable 24-hour body clock that rules all of us.
8. On long trips, try to share the driving with another rested passenger and make sure you stop for at least 15 minutes every two hours.
9. It’s also important to avoid travelling long distances after a full day’s work and to limit driving to a max of eight hours a day.
10. It’s not just a long road trip or pulling an all-nighter that causes fatigue. Many of us have racked up a huge sleep debt, where we haven’t gotten enough quality rest over a period of days, weeks or months. Missing out on even a little sleep each night will eventually impair your mental performance, ability to focus, reaction times – and naturally – your driving ability.