31202Stay Alert: Top Tips for Sleepy Drivers

While most car rentals come with a collision or loss damage waiver as standard, it is of course still best to avoid any accidents while on the road. With this in mind, it’s crucial to set out on your journey feeling as prepared and as alert as you can in order to avoid shelling out expensive excess fees to hire companies. In this article, we’ll run through some top tips for combating tiredness at the wheel.

The Problem

Falling asleep at the wheel can seem absurd to many UK-based drivers – especially those who rarely leave their home country. The distances and times are usually too short for tiredness to become a serious issue.

Abroad, however, it can be a different story. You’re much more likely to be driving longer distances and for extended amounts of time, whether that’s due to general exploration or simply the location. North America and Australia are especially infamous for long stretches of straight road, which can be almost hypnotising.

Open Your Window

Warm and cosy. Snug as a bug in a rug. These phrases are favourites when it comes to making the links between warmth, comfort and the ability to sleep. When you’re settling down to bed after a long night’s travelling, nothing is better than settling into a warm drowsiness – but it’s very different when you’re at the wheel. Not least because no loss damage waiver will save you money if you have an accident while napping.

One of the best ways to avoid this is to refresh yourself with some brisk, cool air. Don’t risk pneumonia, but rolling down the window and feeling the wind on your face can definitely help. Air conditioning might cool you down, but it’s just not the same as feeling the night air rush through your hair. Just make sure you warn any other sleepy passengers before rolling down the windows!

Listen Up

Having something to focus on helps drivers keep track of time and stay alert. Ideally, you’d have other passengers to talk to, as the need to respond in a conversation will help keep your brain active and awake. Sharing the costs of the rental, fuel and loss damage waivers are added benefits of travelling with companions.

Failing this, there are plenty of ways to stay stimulated. Radio and podcasts make a good substitute, as following conversations takes effort even if you’re not participating.

In the worst case, you should put together an eclectic, shuffling playlist of music –sharp changes between songs will help jolt you into focus.

Stay Aware and Take Breaks

It’s crucial to know and listen to your body – and, if needs be, your car. Lights, lines, road signs and more can all give you something to focus on and let you know if you’re driving dangerously. Staying aware of this stuff is a great way to never need to dip into savings or step over your loss damage waiver.

But more than this, your body will tell you if you’re drifting off. Losing focus? Yawning? Slumping? These are signs you need to pull over and take a break. Listen to them. For best results, schedule regular breaks – ideally, you’ll rest just as you notice yourself flagging.

Before You Go

While this post has focused on prevention rather than cure, it’s also worth guarding against financial risks. With collision and loss damage waivers often so limited, it’s well worth investing in excess insurance to make sure you don’t get hit with some seriously nasty fees.

In conclusion, planning ahead and being careful are crucial to a successful rental experience. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well placed to avoid one of the most common causes of collisions: sleepiness.

Sam Walker is a specialist insurance expert at LowerHire, a company that offers low-cost single trip and annual multi-trip car hire excess insurance policies. Travellers can avoid the hidden costs of the a loss damage waiver in their rental agreement and look forward to a stress-free car hire experience.

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