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Alert Driving Fatigue Focus Productivity Safety Staying Awake Tiredness

How To Stay Awake While Driving

Stay Awake, Stay Alert

V-CAF, The App, Can Help

Most of us have to commute to work daily. In America, 76% of us drive to work. Worldwide, commute times are getting longer:

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In a study of UK drivers in 1997, 29% of drivers who took part in the study admitted to almost falling asleep at the wheel.
Maycock, G. “Sleepiness and driving: The experience of U.K. car drivers.” Accident Analysis & Prevention 29.4 (1997): 453-462.

Whilst a later study by the National Sleep Foundation found that more than 37% of American drivers admitted to the same thing.
National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America

With average commute times getting longer what can concerned drivers do to stay awake whilst driving?

How To Stay Awake While Driving
Photo by Zeus @zeus1007 on Unsplash

Why Are We Driving Tired?

We have never been as free as we are now to do so much. Computers and new work processes have made us increase productivity, but this has come at a cost.

Being more efficient has raised the bar on what is expected of us and to make up the shortfall we work harder than ever.

In the UK drivers’ study, when asked what caused them to fall asleep at the wheel, the most common reason was a “Long working day or physical or mental exhaustion”.

Another cited reason and contributing factor are the rise in people reporting sleep disorders and people going to bed late and waking up early. Lack of sleep increases the risk that drivers will fall asleep at the wheel.

A Danger to Ourselves and Others

Not only does drowsy driving put yourself, passengers and other road users at risk, fatigued related driving costs society approximately $109 billion a year.

The exact number of accidents caused by drowsy driving is difficult to calculate as it depends on drivers admitting they fell asleep to police. It is estimated that more than 6,400 fatal crashes happen every year and that 21% of fatal crashes are caused by tired drivers.           

How To Stay Awake While Driving

Having good sleep hygiene habits in general are the best way to reduce your general tiredness and will help you to reduce tiredness whilst you drive.

  • Regular good quality sleep
    Get to bed between 9pm and 10pm when melatonin starts to be released by your body, and get between 7 to 8 hours sleep (especially on the days when you have a long commute).

  • Don’t drive if you’ve had a long day
    If you’ve been awake for more than 16 hours or are feeling especially fatigued, avoid driving. This is difficult so it might be best to either car share and plan that on your busiest days you don’t drive, or make arrangements for someone to pick you up.

  • Take breaks when you feel tired 
    If you find yourself repeatedly yawning and find it difficult to keep your eyes open (or continuous blinking), stop and take a 20 minute snooze. The problem is that most people don’t realize that they are tired until way after the fact. Tiredness alarms such as V-CAF notify you when your body says that you are tired so that you can take the necessary actions to avoid falling asleep.
  • Avoid driving if you have drunk alcohol or taken medication
    These can increase the likelihood of you falling asleep at the wheel, and make your drive harder.

Review

If you are feeling tired, it’s best not to try to drive. Drinking caffeine, opening your window and listening to loud music can only go so far.

If you must drive:

  • On the days that you have to drive, try to get at least 7 hours sleep before driving.
  • Make sure you haven’t been awake for more than 16 hours before you drive.
  • Use V-CAF to tell you when you are tired so that you can take breaks whilst driving.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or take medications before driving.

Conclusion

Driving whilst you are tired is not a good idea and should be avoided. This calls for action on your part to prioritize your sleep.

Lifestyle changes are never easy but with persistence and focus you can do it. By taking small steps everyday towards this goal by using our suggestions will not only help you with tiredness whilst driving, but with your productivity in general.

Categories
Driving Safety Staying Awake Tiredness

Are You Driving Tired?

We Never Drive Tired!

Okay, Maybe Sometimes…

Long commutes and heavy workloads are putting a strain on our daily lives. For a lot of people that I know driving to work saves time and allows them to work longer hours.

I know few of them have the time to think about whether they are putting their lives at risk just to work a few hours more. 

The Nation Safety Council report that upwards of 6,400 people die in car accidents that can be attributed to tiredness each year.

In this article we’ll take a look into driving whilst being tired.

The long drive home after work
Photo by Xan Griffin @xangriffin on Unsplash California, United States, Highway Cruising

The Need for Speed

In these challenging economic times there is a lot of pressure to stay ahead of the crowd. Working or studying for long hours is the default tactic for appearing to be productive, or even just to keep your job.

If the public transport system in your city just doesn’t cut it, driving may be your only option. At least you can quickly get home when you’re ready after a long day.

The problem is that you are more likely to be tired after a long day and driving home late, raising the probability that you could be involved in an accident on the way home.

Would You Drive Drunk?

I believe that if you are reading this article that the likelihood of you drinking and driving are very low.

Unfortunately, many people unknowingly do just that when they drive whilst being tired. 

  • A recent report found that reducing your sleep by two hours has a similar affect to drinking three beers. 
  • A person that sleeps for 4-5 hours a day has the same crash risk as a person with 0.08% blood alcohol level.
    Tefft, B. C. (2016). Acute Sleep Deprivation and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash Involvement. Washington, DC: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
  • After being awake for 17 hours, a person’s impairment level is similar to having a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. And after 24 hours it matches 0.10% – too drunk to drive.
    Waclawski, E., and P. Noone. “Are aviation industry fatigue risk management strategies needed in healthcare?.” Anaesthesia 72.11 (2017): 1417-1419.

Precautions and Tips

By reading this article you have already taken a major step in reducing the risk of being in an accident caused by driving whilst tired.

Whilst being a good first step, positive action is needed on your part. The following suggestions will help even further, but nothing beats getting enough rest before you start to drive.

  • Get enough sleep. 
    Change your sleeping routine to get at least seven hours of sleep every day, especially when you plan to drive.
  • Plan rest stops.
    After driving for two hours, make sure you stop and rest.
  • Opening your car window and playing loud music will not be enough to keep you awake if you are tired.
    You may even feel awake, but misjudge how tired you really are.  Use V-CAF an Apple Watch app that monitors your tiredness levels and notifies you so that you can take the appropriate action to get some rest and wake your self up.
  • Drink lots of water.
    Water helps keep your brain alert by increasing oxygen and nutrients via blood flow to your brain.

Review

Dozing off behind the wheel is a real and present danger. In a recent report 30% of participants admitted falling asleep whilst driving.

Stay informed and make positive changes to your sleep routine if you rely on driving as your daily commute.

Use these tips to help you beat tiredness whilst driving:

  • When driving, make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep beforehand.
  • Stop and take a break after at least two hours of continuous driving.
  • Know how tired you are by using tiredness monitors like V-CAF .
  • Keep your brain alert by drinking lots of water.

Conclusion

We are in a tiredness epidemic and people aren’t aware of the dangers that we face daily due to tiredness.

I have shared this information with my friends and work associates and would appreciate it if you would share this post with anyone you think may benefit from this information.

Thank you. 

“If you find yourself on the road and feeling tired, pull over to a safe location and park. Take a 20-minute nap or make other arrangements to get to your destination. Caffeine can help promote alertness but may only help for a short period of time, so it’s best not to rely on caffeine.”

National Safety Council, Drowsy Driving is Impaired Driving, https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/fatigued-driving