5 Healthy Habits that will make you a better driver

November 1st, 2019 by

Article courtesy of Mark Conner from drivingsafely.info

Most of us talk about getting healthier so that we can look and feel better.  But did you know that healthy habits can benefit your driving too?  Getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and staying sober means fewer accidents and safer driving.

In addition to keeping you, your friends and family, and other drivers safe, being careful on the road can benefit you financially.  Auto insurance for high-risk drivers can get pretty expensive, as insurance companies see you as a liability, which means they’ll charge you more for premiums, sometimes as much as 50 percent.  In other words, it pays to stay safe when you’re behind the wheel.

Get enough sleep

Are you getting seven or more hours of sleep at night?  While most of us are aware that getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol can be a problem, there is growing evidence that we need to consider the ramifications of being tired when we drive.  Studies show 20 percent of fatal accidents involve sleepy drivers, and that losing just an hour or two of sleep makes us twice as likely to crash.  Lose another hour and you are four times as likely to be in a wreck.  That puts tired drivers at about the same accident rate as their drunken counterparts.

Lose the extra pounds

We often talk about losing a few pounds for reasons of vanity; we want to look better or our clothes are a bit snug.  It turns out that losing weight may help make you a safer driver.  Being overweight increases the likelihood of developing sleep apnea, and one in ten drivers are nodding off at the wheel. Studies show that drivers with sleep apnea have twice as many accidents as drivers without.  Losing weight could make you stay more alert and awake.

Eat right

Another way to help you stay more alert behind the wheel is healthy eating.  Fattening foods and spicy foods are harder to digest, so some experts recommend lighter, easier-to-digest snacks when planning to drive.  Similarly, staying hydrated and eating regularly by not skipping meals or binging will keep you more comfortable and focused while on the road. Sometimes with our busy schedules, it’s not easy getting all the nutrients our bodies need. To ensure you’re getting the proper nutrition, take a daily multivitamin. These vitamins have the added bonus of increasing energy levels, which can help keep you focused when you’re on the road.

Exercise

According to a recent study, fitness helps with mental clarity and enhances cognition, so it only makes sense that it’s good for your driving.  And while we all have heard that regular exercise helps you feel better, research shows it also speeds reaction time and is especially important as drivers age.  Once we hit middle age, our motor skills and eyesight simply aren’t as keen.  Exercise can help us fight those declining abilities.

Stay clean

 While it’s widely accepted that drinking alcohol impairs driving, it’s important to know that drugs can also affect your ability to drive.  Some of the most popular recreational drugs are a danger to use in conjunction with driving.

  • Marijuana is linked to impaired judgment, slower response rates, drowsiness, and generally bad concentration. Combined with alcohol, your coordination and reaction times are even worse.  Combined with sedatives and opiates, you might experience increased anxiety and possibly even hallucinate.
  • Cocaine might make you feel energized and alert but it impairs vision and coordination, and high dosages make it harder to concentrate. Using cocaine can also make you more impulsive and you can become confused.  To avoid feeling the agitation that can come after using cocaine, it is often combined with alcohol.  However, this combination can make you drive more aggressively.
  • Sedatives cause a number of issues for users, including drowsiness, lack of coordination, altered perceptions, impaired speech, memory loss, and slowed reaction time. If you drive under the influence of sedatives you could have difficulty staying in your lane and might not be as observant of road signs.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

We routinely hear a lot of great reasons to make healthy lifestyle choices, and now we can add safer driving as one of the many benefits of being healthy.  Evidence is so compelling that some trucking companies are actively encouraging their drivers to get healthier, citing a shorter life expectancy and general safety concerns.

Getting healthy and getting to know the vehicles we drive are good advice for driving professionals and good advice for those of us who just need to get from point A to point B.  Be a safer driver with these six habits: keep your car in tip-top shape, sleep seven hours or more, maintain a healthy weight, eat right, exercise, and drive sober.

For more information on how you can drive safer, please visit www.drivesafely.info

Article courtesy of Mark Conner from drivingsafely.info

 

Posted in Driving Tips