Fatigue is considered one of the “fatal five” causes of accidents, responsible for up to 20 percent of all crashes in the U.S. You may not think you could actually fall asleep as the wheel, due to the switching of gears, the wind hitting you in the face, and the noise keeping you awake. True, it’s easier to fall asleep at the wheel when you’re in a big rig or a car, where the hum of the open road can easily lull you to sleep.
However, some motorcycle riders can and do fall asleep, while others at the very least can become impaired with fatigue that slows down their reaction times. In any event, here are the top nine tips to fight driver fatigue.
Choose an Interesting Route
Rather than the highway, which can get dull and boring with one speed, try to take back roads and winding routes that take more steering, mental input, gear changes and brake applications.
Plan it Out
You may usually plan your route, but do you plan your stops? Keep your distance goals realistic and schedule in stops to take breaks and rests. Keep in mind that some riders in your group don’t have the same stamina as others, so plan for stops that cater to the most vulnerable riders.
Get Your ZZZs
The night before your ride, get enough sleep. If your motorcycle journey will take place over several days, refrain from staying up late and drinking well into the night. Suggest to your fellow riders that you all turn in at a reasonable hour. Then set a realistic departure time in the a.m.
Drink plenty of water so you don’t become dehydrated from wind and heat exposure. Dehydration results in confusion, dizziness and slower body motor skills. You will also want to stay away from sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol, which may lift you up initially but then cause a big dip on energy shortly thereafter. Drink alcohol in moderation so it doesn’t disturb sleep quality.
Eat Small, Frequent Meals
Avoid big carbohydrate-heavy foods, as well as those high in fat and sugar. This can slow your body down while it focuses on digesting all that food.
Take Short Breaks Often
Stop every couple of hours. If you’re properly hydrating, you’ll need to use the restroom, anyway. It’s a good idea to take slightly longer stops between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., which is when most riders feel more tired and take longer to revitalize. In fact, this is when you should aim to get to your destination. Get out, stretch your legs, and loosen up.
Listen to Music
Use head phones or ear buds and listen to upbeat music. Wind noise also tends to fatigue riders, so pop in some earplugs and wear a full-face helmet. You may also want to wear a windscreen to keep the wind noise at bay. It’s also wise to invest in a communication system so you can speak with other riders and stay mentally alert.
Ride in Groups
Ride in small groups rather than alone. Riding solo can cause you to lose concentration, but riding in a large group can also cause you to switch to auto pilot. Keep the groups small and take turns leading the whole pack.
Ship Your Bike
To avoid being on the road for too long over too many days, ship your motorcycle at least part of the journey.
Contact AA Motorcycle Shipping
We make it easy by giving you a free quote. Just tell us a few details and you’ll get an accurate price estimate on the trip.