5 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR MIND ACTIVE ON THE ROAD
The American Trucking Association reports that moving America’s freight annually requires over 3.6 million heavy-duty Class 8 trucks and over 3.5 million truck drivers.1 one of those 3.5 million drivers, you know you need to keep your mind focused and sharp while avoiding accident-causing distractions in the cab. Concentrating on driving doesn’t have to be a painful chore. Here are five things you can do today to keep your mind active on the road.
1. Keep your eyes moving.
When you drive for long stretches of time, you need to balance focusing your line of vision outward and being aware of what happens in your peripheral. Staring straight ahead out of your windshield for an extended period of time can give you “tunnel vision” or “highway hypnosis” so it’s important to keep your eyes from resting in one place too long. Shift your vision from looking ahead to your left mirror, then back to looking ahead. Next, glance from looking ahead to the rearview mirror, then back to looking ahead. Repeat this with your right mirror and continue the cycle again at least every five seconds.2This constant shifting of your eyes will make you more aware of your surroundings on the road and improve your defensive driving skills.
2. Take deep breaths.
Did you know your brain uses about a quarter of your oxygen intake?3 Deep breathing from your diaphragm, known as “Belly Breathing,” can deliver more oxygen to your brain through your bloodstream and over time, improve cognitive functions. A calm, clear brain will react better to emergencies than a sluggish one. For even better oxygen levels, crack open your window for a few deep breaths of fresh air, especially if you are driving in an area without smog or air pollution.
3. Learn something new.
Just because you sit behind a wheel instead of in a classroom doesn’t mean you can’t stretch your mental muscles by learning something new. Podcasts on an interesting topic, audiobooks from your favorite author, music that is different than your normal tastes, or even learning a new language are all excellent ways to engage your mind on new aspects of the world while you keep your eyes on the road. You don’t even have to pay for these audio lessons. Podcasts are available for download on smartphone apps and browsers at no cost. Most libraries offer access to digital collections when you log in with your library card. Just remember to have a way to listen to your selection through speakers since headphones and earbuds are unsafe and, in most places, illegal while driving4.
4. Plan on sleeping.
An estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers report having fallen asleep while driving within the past month.5 It may seem like annoying advice, but in reality there is no shortcut for being well-rested and fresh. The CDC recommends at least seven hours of sleep on a regular schedule, but the 10-hour break required by the Department of Transportation can quickly get eaten away by loading, unloading, parking, showering, and meal times. In order to maintain high miles every week and get the sleep you desperately need, plan your days well in advance, even down to the hour. Your logbook will be legal, and your dispatcher will be happy as you get in the practice of planning for real sleep.
5. Stop worrying about truck repairs.
Breakdowns can happen when you least expect it, but you don’t need to spend brain power worrying about it anymore. Synchrony’s Truckers Preferred credit card can help you stay on route with six months promotional financing on parts, service, and repairs of $199 or more. * Plus, it’s accepted at all major gas brands nationwide. Find a location where your card is accepted today.
*Subject to credit approval. Gas station purchases are not eligible for promotional financing. Minimum monthly payments required. See merchants or mysynchrony.com/carcare for promotional financing details and merchant locations.
1. Reports, Trends, & Statistics American Trucking Association
2. California Driver Handbook - Visual Search State of California Department of Motor Vehicles
3. Oxygen Levels and Brain Function Lung Institute
4. Getting Smart During Your Daily Commute Open Culture.
5. Drowsy Driving - 19 States and the District of Columbia Center for Disease Control and Prevention .
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