Stay Sharp On The Road: Five Ways To Avoid Driver Fatigue

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January 1, 2013

RV travel gives you the freedom to pick up and go on a whim, but with that freedom comes great responsibility. In addition to keeping your vehicle in sound running order, it’s critical that you to keep your mental faculties well tuned while behind the wheel.

Unfortunately, too many motorists hit the road after insufficient sleep the night before, while others drive for extended periods without taking much-needed breaks. According to the National Safety Council, 37 percent of drivers have nodded off or fallen asleep at the wheel at least once since they’ve had their license, and 8 percent have done so in the past six months.

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.

• 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.

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

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

Fortunately, Good Sam Club members can rely on 2,100+ Good Sam Parks across North America and Canada for welcome, relaxing stays at a discount.

You can also pull into one of the nearly 600 Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers. Good Sam Club members traveling throughout North America and Canada receive fuel discounts when using their RV Plus Card.

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