Going on a road trip is an exciting way to spend time with your friends or family. If you’re the designated driver, make sure you get plenty of rest and sleep the night before the trip. You’ll need energy to keep your mind on the road and get to your destination safely. If you can’t concentrate properly on your driving, you’re putting yourself and your passengers at risk. Keep in mind that the effects of being awake for 17 hours are the same as that of having a 0.05 BAC (blood alcohol content). This is why driver fatigue is one of the top causes of fatal road accidents. If you don’t want to be part of the statistics, here are some tips to help you deal with fatigue.

Don’t drink and drive

Aside from breaking drunk driving laws, driving while under the influence of alcohol can increase your chances of experiencing driving fatigue. Because alcohol impairs your concentration, you’re more likely to feel tired even if you consumed only a small amount. So for a safe trip, avoid alcoholic drinks when driving.

Identify early signs of driver fatigue

If you didn’t get enough sleep the night before or you need to drive at night, your chances of experiencing fatigue increases. An effective way to deal with this is to learn how to identify the early signs. Frequent yawning, heavy eyes, and muscle cramps or stiffness are just some of the signs you need to watch out for. If you notice that your reaction times are slower that you can’t seem to concentrate on your driving, and you tend to daydream while behind the wheel, then you’re too tired to drive.

Stop and rest
Rest and sleep are the only effective cures for fatigue. If you’re experiencing any of the signs above, find a place to stop and rest a bit. A power nap can sometimes mean the difference between a safe trip and a road accident. So if you feel really sleepy, head to the nearest stop and book a few hours at a motel to get some sleep.

Take a break every two hours
Driving for more than two hours straight will definitely take a toll on your concentration. When planning your road trip, make sure to include rest stops so you’ll have time to recover as you continue on with the trip. Take a break at least every two hours, or take turns and have someone else drive as you rest. When you stop for a break, walk around to get some exercise and re-energise. This is also a good time to do some sightseeing if your stop is near a local attraction.

If you’re booking a car hire for the trip, choose a rental company that provides an affordable GPS add-on. This way, you can pre-program routes to the nearest driver reviver sites and rest areas. By getting enough sleep and planning ahead, driving for hours won’t seem so tiring, and you’ll have the energy to enjoy the rest of the trip.