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10 Ways to Stay Alert Behind the Wheel

Traveling across North America is a beautiful thing. The sights and sounds of the road combined with quality time spent with family and friends have led millions to adopt the RV lifestyle.

As RVing continues to increase in popularity, it’s important to remember that operating a motorhome weighing several tons is a task that requires a driver’s full attention. Still, maintaining complete focus can be challenging, especially after a long day on the highway. To help, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks for staying alert while behind the wheel.

Avoid too much sugar

Snacks are a great way to hold yourself over between meals, but you’re better off steering clear of items like candy, soda and anything else containing large amounts of sugar. While you may experience an initial rush, you’ll eventually begin to feel drowsy, especially if you consume that candy bar too quickly.

Chew gum

Keeping your jaws busy helps to keep you from yawning. What’s more, many find the act of chewing helps them maintain focus on the road ahead.

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Keep cool

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to keep the cabin of your RV a bit chilly to avoid grogginess. Whether you choose air conditioning or a window, make sure you’re feeling the air on your face.

Stay hydrated

While many reach for the caffeine at the first sign of fatigue, it’s important to remember the impact even slight dehydration can have on your ability to stay alert and focused. While sports drinks are a decent option, they contain more sugar than you think, so opt for some ice-cold water instead.

Pace your caffeine consumption

Speaking of caffeine, downing too much too fast can quickly lead to noticeable decrease in energy. Instead, try a steadier pace. Sip your coffee or energy drink slowly. Making your drink last stretches the effects of caffeine over a longer period of time.

Play road trip games

Even if your companions have headed off to bed, you can keep your mind occupied – and alert – just by participating in some simple activities. Need some ideas? Check out our blog, 10 Games for Your Next RV Road Trip.

Chew sunflower seeds

Road warriors the world over rely on the power of sunflower seeds. While immensely popular on the baseball diamond, sunflower seeds do wonders for drivers, too, as the continuous cracking can help you stay focused.

Carry on a conversation

While some prefer to be left alone while driving, interacting with those around you is a time-tested way of staying awake. Just be sure to keep your eyes on the road, as a particularly captivating discussion can cause you to become distracted.

Look ahead, not down

While many RV drivers are used to looking down at the road, making a concerted effort to keep your eyes focused as far out in front of you as possible is a habit worth adopting. Not only will you remain more alert, you’re more likely to avoid being caught off guard by stopped traffic, tight curves and speed traps.

Don’t be afraid to stop, switch or both

It’s not always possible to share driving duties, but if you have a person on board who has experience and is comfortable operating a motorhome, take advantage of it, especially if you’re trying to avoid lengthy stops. Otherwise, accept the fact that breaks and rest stops are a part of traveling and pull over when you’re feeling tired. No amount of time saved is worth falling asleep at the wheel.

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