10 Ways to Stay Alert While Driving

Posted by Arpana Nair

Imagine: you are on the 5th hour of a long drive and you are daydreaming of a warm, comfortable bed when you realise you are slowly drifting into the lane next to you...whoa! Your heart drops as you quickly swerve back into your lane. In a perfect world, you could pull over and take a quick catnap. However, when you are on a deadline, you don't have the option to pull over and waste precious time. Falling asleep at the wheel is very dangerous, not only for you but also for everyone else on the road. Other than pumping yourself full of coffee and Red Bull, here are some tips on how to stay awake and focused on the road ahead.

1. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water will keep your body cool and will keep you from feeling sluggish. 

2. Eat sunflower seeds. Something about opening up the seeds to eat the insides keeps your brain focused and alert. 

3. Chew gum. Similar to eating sunflower seeds, chewing gum also keeps your mind awake. 

4. Listen to a stand-up comedy album. Listening to a person talk and be consistently funny (unlike some talk radio) will keep your brain focused but keep your eyes on the road. Plus, laughing while driving never hurt anyone. 

5. Keep an essential oil on hand to sniff. This may sound strange, but a quick sniff of peppermint or rosemary oil when you are getting drowsy can wake you up. Peppermint is a natural stimulant that increases alertness and decreases fatigue. 

6. Blast your A/C. Keeping a cool temperature in the vehicle can help you from becoming too comfortable and drifting off. 

7. Use eye drops to keep your eyes moisturised. Staring at the road for a long amount of time makes you forget to blink! Keep eye drops on hand for when your eyes dry out. If you wear contacts, always travel with an extra pair. 

8. Sing along to a playlist. Create a playlist of music that you know all the words to. Think: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, Alcohol by Brad Paisley, Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind, or Africa by Toto. Belting out these songs will keep you concentrated and enthused. No air guitar though- keep your hands on the wheel! 

9. Snack regularly. Keep healthy low-carb, high-energy snacks on hand. For example: apples, raspberries, almonds, or string cheese. 

10. Make sure you are getting enough sleep! The most important thing you can do is not start a long haul on little to no sleep. Make sure you are well rested and bright eyed before beginning your journey.  

Does your business have a job safety program? Read our tips to improve safety in your small business.