RV enthusiasts enjoy being on the road, traveling to and fro. But someone has to do the driving. And that can become tedious, especially during extended trips. As a result, driver’s fatigue can set in. Fatigue can be a real challenge, not just for RVers, but for anyone driving long distances, such as long-haul truckers.
The biggest concern is that driving when sleep deprived can mimic drunk driving. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, being awake for 18 hours straight and driving is like having a blood alcohol level of .05, where .08 is considered drunk. And, being awake for a full 24 hours and driving is like having a blood alcohol level of .10.
So, combating fatigue while on the road is of the utmost importance. Here are four ways you can do that when traveling in your RV:
- Get a good night’s sleep – This seems pretty obvious. You need at least eight to nine hours of sleep each night. This can be hard to attain if you’re parked in a campground or other location that’s noisy or even if you’re uncomfortable in your bed and can’t relax when sleeping in an unfamiliar place. To help ensure you get the rest you need before a long day of driving, use pillows and sheets from home and use a white noise machine or app on your phone to play sounds or music that will help you slow down, relax, and fall asleep.
- Drive no longer than 10 to 12 hours per day – You’ve probably heard that long-haul truckers have restrictions on how many hours they can drive each day. The standard limit for truckers is 11 hours of driving, and they must take a 30-minute break after eight hours of driving. These restrictions are regulated by the Department of Transportation and are in place to keep truckers rested and the roadways safe. Luckily, it’s a good rule of thumb to follow for anyone who has to be on the road for long periods of time, including RVers. However, it could be even more effective if you stop more frequently than truckers do throughout your travel time.
- Pull over when you need to – Whether you nod off, get irritable, or fall into silence, you likely know the signs of when your body is tired. As those signs appear, do yourself a favor and pull over to get out of your RV and stretch or even take a quick nap. Doing so can help replenish your energy and help you finish your day of planned driving.
- Stay engaged and stimulated – Yes, coffee or other caffeinated drinks may help you stay awake, but you should limit your intake of caffeine, as that can affect how well you sleep later in the evening. Fortunately, there are many other things besides caffeine that can keep you alert! For example, have another person drive with you so you have someone to talk to or create and listen to playlists or audio books that will keep you entertained.
Above all, it’s important that you keep you, your loved ones, and those on the road around you safe when driving. Employ the anti-fatigue methods that will work best for you and your particular needs.
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