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Staying Alive, Alert and Awake Behind The Wheel

Driving a truck or and RV is a lot different than driving a car. Studies have linked driver fatigue to one out of every ten accidents on the road. Staying sharp and alert, as well as in your own lane, will allow you to arrive safely at your destination. There are several common-sense tips for staying awake, especially when driving long distances, or at night.

Even if you’re not asleep at the wheel, you can pay a steep price for skimping on slumber or breaks. Insufficient rest dulls reflexes and blunts driver awareness, leading to accidents, injuries and even fatalities. Don’t rely only on a tall cup of Joe to keep you perky on your travels: while caffeine can sharpen your senses, nothing replaces a good eight hours of slumber.

So before embarking on that long drive to that cherished RV destination, take the following precautions:

1. Don’t start a trip late in the day, and try to avoid long drives at night. The scarcity of stimuli resulting from darkness only hampers your senses.

2. Encourage your passenger(s) to converse with you on long drives. This can serve to keep the mind active while logging mile after mile.

3. Adjust your vehicle’s environment so that it helps you to stay alert. Keep the temperature cool, with open windows or air conditioning in the summer and minimal amounts of heat in the winter. Avoid listening to soft, sleep-inducing music and switch radio stations frequently.

4. Don’t get too comfy. Although today’s RV cockpits are designed for maximum driver comfort, you should drive with your head up, your shoulders back and your lower back against the seat back. Legs should not be fully extended, but flexed at about a 45-degree angle. Don’t use cruise control; keep your body involved in the driving.

5. Take breaks. To be assured of safe driving, you should stop at a travel plaza, restaurant or rest stop every two hours. Get out of the car and walk around, or even jog or stretch. In addition to exercise breaks, stop for light meals and snacks.

There are many dangers that can contribute to car accidents, but driver fatigue is by far one of the largest. If you’re losing the battle against fatigue, stop and sleep at a motel or well-guarded rest stop.

Stay sharp on the road and avoid road accident with more tips at Trailer Life.

Image Source: Saadet Erciyas

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