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Ways to stay safe and alert on long distance drives

Do you have a family trip planned yet this winter for Florida or even all the way across country to California? Even for spots in-between those sunny destinations, you will need to plan differently for a long-distance trip than would for a normal short driving excursion. Preparing to hit the road for many miles and even across state lines requires proper planning to make sure safety is at the forefront.

Everything from comfort to supplies should not go unplanned before pulling out of the driveway. You do not want to be caught in a strange area of the country only to be afflicted with a case of “highway hypnosis,” where the demands of long hours of driving can catch you off guard and put you in a dangerous situation. Boredom and drowsy driving can both play a part in causing a catastrophic accident that can cause serious injury or even death to you, your passengers or another driver.

To make sure you are best prepared for a long trip, here are some tips to assist you in keeping yourself energized and alert while driving.

Proper amount of sleep – While you may get plenty of rest the night before you leave on your road trip, it is during your trip that you need to have adequate rest. Refrain from worrying about making good time or stretching drive times if you are tired. Also, if you can, share driving duties with another person and get at least 7 hours of sleep the night before you drive again.

Water and food – It is best to plan on bringing plenty of snacks and beverages with you in the car instead of relying on stopping to pick items up along the way. This way, you can bring healthy foods and not have to rely on fast-food or greasy diners. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and water is a good start.

Plan ahead – While winging it may sound fun and can feel like more of an adventure, when you are extremely tired, hungry, agitated and fatigued, you will likely not want to be driving and searching for a place to stay for the night.

Fight fatigue – If everyone else is resting and quiet in the car, you can stay alert while driving by chewing gum, forcing yourself to sit up straight or playing a game. One game you can try is locating items outside the car in alphabetical order and not moving to the next letter until you find something. For example: airplane, bird, car, dealership and so on. If your mind stays active, the better chance you will stay alert.

Are you in this together? – Unless you are on your own, engage others in the car who may also be fighting boredom and drowsiness. This engagement will likely get your blood flowing and keep you energized by laughing and thinking. Singalongs, trivia, or team games should always be planned before you leave your home.

You should be taking drowsy driving on long trips seriously. Regardless if you are on an extended trip or just coming home from a long day at work. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has reported that there are around 328,000 crashes every year due to drowsy driving. If you have been in an accident where you suspect the other driver may have been overly fatigued, you should contact an attorney who can discuss with you how you may be able to receive compensation due to any injuries.

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