Instructors Login / Register

Three top tips for staying alert whilst driving

By John Lendrum - December 12th, 2022 | Posted in Article, DRIVING

Three top tips for staying alert whilst driving

Driver fatigue is a prominent issue for road users all over the world. Ignoring the signs of fatigue can not only have fatal consequences for yourself, but also for fellow drivers sharing the road. Particularly on long or monotonous journeys, it’s easy to become distracted and allow our minds to drift off from what we should really be focussing on.

Drowsiness can have similar effects on our bodies as drinking alcohol, in that it can impair our coordination, reaction times and decision-making. We all know how important it is to stay alert when driving, but how can you avoid being affected by fatigue whilst behind the wheel? Here are our three top tips.

Take regular breaks

On lengthier journeys, you’re more likely to feel fatigued, which is why it’s all the more important to schedule in the time to take regular breaks. In the UK, the Highway Code recommends drivers take a break of at least 15 minutes after two continuous hours on the road.

Even if you don’t necessarily feel tired, or aren’t yet experiencing signs of fatigue, such as constant yawning or heavy eyelids, taking regular breaks will keep you more alert for the duration of your journey. Be sure to find a safe place to stop, and get some fresh air and a coffee to give yourself a boost before getting back behind the wheel. Alternatively, if you’re travelling with a passenger who is a named driver on your insurance, you can always share the driving to give each other a break.

Create optimal conditions in your car

Modern cars are designed for comfort. And whilst you want to enjoy all these features of your vehicle, even heated seats can sometimes be a hindrance and make us feel more drowsy. However, it can be useful to have a suitable amount of distraction in order to keep you alert. This could come in the form of an entertaining podcast or audiobook, or perhaps some music.

You can also take advantage of your car’s air conditioning system to help stave off drowsiness whilst on the roads. When we’re feeling tired, a blast of cold air can help us to feel more alert, which is why it’s recommended to use air conditioning, particularly whilst driving over long distances. Alternatively, opening the windows will help to circulate cool, fresh air around your car, without putting any additional strain on your fuel supply.

Avoid unnecessary journeys at unsociable times

The Highway Code recommends avoiding long journeys between 10pm and 6am, i.e. the times we’re typically asleep. According to this guide on road safety and driver fatigue, we are more likely to fall asleep whilst driving at 6am than any other time of the day, so if possible, avoid driving at unsociable hours.

If it’s not feasible for you to avoid driving at these times, you may need to look at ways to improve your sleep hygiene to help keep you as safe and alert on the roads as possible. This could include things like following a strict bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed and getting more exercise during the day.

Our Accreditations

fsb logo images ordit badge RoSPA Gold Award 1 Unknown diamond

Gift Vouchers Available

We offer Gift Vouchers for all our lesson types. For more information and to purchase, get in touch!