Sleep is a risk factor that causes much of the accidents that occur on night trips, although traffic density is lower during those hours. For this reason, if we decide to travel at night, we must keep in mind that our body is better adapted to night rest and that it is a necessity, so, the only solution if we are tired, will be to stop and sleep.
Is it better to travel day or night?
During the night the traffic is reduced considerably, but most accidents occur during this time slot. One of the main reasons is the visual field: when driving at night, visibility is greatly reduced, since our night vision is lower and at the same time, essential for driving. Another factor is fatigue, since we humans rest at night.
Everything indicates that driving at night is more dangerous, however, during twilight hours, both sunrise and sunset, traffic is greater and visibility conditions are not the best. In addition, they are usually times when our level of attention is minimal, because we are asleep or return home after a day's work.
Driving tips at night
- Rest before the trip: to prevent sleep from planning and prior rest will be essential. It will be important to sleep in a comfortable place, without noise, without light and without distractions such as cell phones or television.
- Light dinner: Eating a lot or choosing “heavy” foods, rich in fats or carbohydrates, will cause us drowsiness, due to variations in blood glucose caused by this type of food. Glucose lowers the orexins that are peptides produced by specialized neurons located in the hypothalamus that participate in the regulation of the daily sleep cycle and wakefulness in appetite control. Protein-rich meals will be the most optimal if we drive overnight.
- No smoking before or during the trip: Smoking is harmful to our body in many ways, but here we want to repair one specifically. Smoking affects the quality of sleep and reduces nighttime rest. Therefore, as we should rest before the trip, it is best not to smoke to make the most of this time. At the same time, smoking while driving implies a road risk factor, as it is an element of distraction. In addition, it adds the visual irritation produced by smoke inside the cabin, and carbon monoxide poisoning that decreases the level of surveillance, attention and night vision.
- Eat fresh drink: especially water This will keep us hydrated and doing so frequently will be ideal, especially during the summer.
- Dress in comfortable and light clothes: Comfort is essential, so we recommend wearing baggy clothes and avoiding tight clothes that prevent proper circulation or give us that feeling of being “clothed”.
- Make stops every one or two hours or every 200 kilometers: on those trips that last longer than two hours, the ideal is to make frequent stops to get fresh air and stretch your legs.
Not feeling exhausted or tired, does not mean that the same thing happens to your brain. Fatigue is an inevitable effect of driving.
How to detect that we are falling asleep at the wheel?
Each organism reacts differently to fatigue, however, it is essential to recognize the symptoms produced by sleep to stop the vehicle and rest.
- Itching and redness in the eyes: The feeling of sight tired or blinking more than the count, are the first symptoms of sleep.
- Feeling restless: before falling asleep it is common to take a few turns. Feeling restless or uncomfortable are alerts to keep in mind.
- Yawns: It is the clearest symptom that tells us that we are fatigued, especially if they are constantly repeated.
Some myths to not fall asleep at the wheel
As we mentioned at the beginning, to avoid falling asleep at the wheel it is important to rest before the trip, be alert to the first symptoms of fatigue, and make stops to rest or sleep; It is impossible and risky to fight with sleep.
There are some widespread myths that are absolutely false that will not help our body while driving:
- Increase the volume of the radio or sing: While it can be an entertaining activity, we can fall asleep listening to or singing our favorite music.
- Drink lots of coffee or energy drinks: Hydration is essential during driving, but this type of beverage will only delay sleep. So, if we make a long trip it is best to stop to rest.
- Talk to the co-pilot: four eyes look better than two, however, the one who drives is one. If the co-driver has a driving license, it will be better to take turns driving so that one rests while the other drives. Talking to the co-pilot will not make the dream go away and can cause both the driver and the passenger to tire.