Things to consider when driving over the festive period

As we embark on a busy holiday season, alcohol isn’t the only thing that can ruin it. While we can agree that there is no doubt that boozing and motoring don’t mix, there are many other things that can impact on our safety behind the wheel.

Dehydration

Loughborough University have found that drivers who had only had 25ml of water an hour made more than double the number of mistakes on the road than those who were hydrated – the same amount as those who have been drink driving. Therefore make sure you keep drinking the clear stuff throughout the day.

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Tiredness

As many take to the roads to visit and spend time with friends and family there is the concern that many drivers will be driving tired and have the risk of nodding off. Especially on a monotonous motorway and other family members asleep in the car.

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Medication

As we build up to the festive period, we make changes to our work pattern, eat lots of rich food and have familial stress, making it easy to find that sleep is disrupted as our social calendar builds. Some may be tempted to take a sleeping tablet or two to help insomnia. However, over the counter remedies can leave a hangover-style effect the next day.

Professor Russell Foster, a neuroscientist at Oxford University, says: “Sleeping pills prevent you going into a deep, ‘slow-wave’ sleep during the night, which is why you may not feel refreshed in the morning.

“It’s always best to avoid sleeping pills if you have a long drive ahead of you the next day.”

“Similar problems can be caused by the sorts of drugs you may find yourself taking to help with a dose of the festive runs or a Christmas-induced migraine.

Many of us will quickly grab cold and flu medication at the first signs of any cold, as not to miss out on festivities. Just because a type of medication is widely available and deemed as legal, it doesn’t mean you won’t end up with penalty points, a fine or disqualification from driving if it causes you to have an accident.

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Physical demands

The physical demands of Christmas such as hoisting a tree into the lounge and dragging decorations down from the loft can cause a strain on the body including shoulders and the lower back. Drivers do not realise this until the leg is tested, for examples have to brake suddenly.

 

Therefore as well as being sensible with your alcohol intake when not driving, you should listen to your body before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle this festive period.

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