According to DrowsyDriving.org, a foundation that raises awareness on driving fatigue and advocates the counter measures to prevent it, 37% of all drivers admit having fallen asleep at the wheel. That translates to roughly 103 million people who risk being involved in car accidents—all because of fatigue!
In a general sense, fatigue refers to being sleepy, drowsy, tired or exhausted due to various reasons. Fatigue can cause impaired vision, judgment and reaction time—a dangerous combination for people driving their cars alone or with passengers! Imagine how even more risky it is for motorcycle riders who travel the road day in and day out for long periods of time.
For this reason, it is imperative for motorcycle riders to find ways and take the right action to prevent the possibility of becoming an unfortunate statistic. To be able to combat fatigue, the initial step is to know the symptoms. When, during your motorcycle ride you constantly yawn, suffer from heavy eyes, react slowly, drive at changing or inconsistent speeds, losing concentration, becoming impatient, suffer from cramps or stiffness, or losing motivation altogether—don’t take chances!
Here are 7 practical ways to make sure you can fight fatigue and be safe on the road for a fun and unforgettable motorcycle adventure:
1. Plan your routes and stops or breaks
Pick an interesting yet realistic route that will get you to your destination. A more winding, back road will allow you to be more focused on driving, as opposed to mindlessly following a familiar route. A path that enables you to steer more, change gears more, mix your speeds up, and keep you awake to apply your brakes for a more efficient drive is the way to go.
Similarly, you need to remember that when it comes to being on your bike for hours on end, your health and body can only take so much. Consider reasonable stops and take proper breaks at least every two hours or every 100 miles. Be sure to make that an indispensable part of your road trip.
2. Get adequate sleep
Before hitting the road, make sure you’ve had enough sleep. In most cases, adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep to be fully alert for their next day’s tasks and adventures. It is best that you and your motorcycle rider buddies get the sleep you need every night of your motorcycle adventure, which means avoiding staying up into the little hours of the morning.
It is equally important that you set the right hours for sleeping and waking up, so that you are closest to your departure and arrival estimates and, as a result, achieve your motorcycle riding goals.
3. Drink right
The dangers of dehydration for motorcycle riders cannot be overstated, even more so because exposure to the wind during your trip can dehydrate you. Getting sugar or cola or caffeine before or in between your trips may feel like uppers but these can actually lead to sleepiness and tiredness the next day. Alcohol may also get you to sleep, which is why a lot of riders think it is good to consume a specific amount of it as a sleep aid.
The truth, however, is that while it does tend to push you into sleeping soundly, it can significantly diminish your quality of sleep. If you have medication, you might want to keep away from those drugs with sedating effects so tell your doctor ahead about your biking adventures. The best option is water, which you simply can’t go wrong with. Be sure to drink plenty of water to revitalize and avoid feeling dizzy or confused and slow-moving.
Make sure to exercise lightly at stops. Considering the time, you and your buddies spend sitting on your bikes, even walking for a little while should do the trick! We don’t mean heavy workouts that will only wear you out; just walk up and down the road instead of sitting in a snack bar.
5. Keep yourself entertained
Be sure to have something to listen to when you’re riding your bike—and go for upbeat and loud music. To make this happen, consider investing in good gear. A Bluetooth headset device for your helmet or a helmet with pre-installed Bluetooth will definitely do the trick.
This technology, which operates effectively, clearly and safely lets you listen to your favorite audio tracks hands-free. Bluetooth technology in motorcycle helmets also lets you stay connected with your fellow riders and even other people within a considerable range. This is a feature in latest models available these days.
6. Ride with a group
Riding alone may be liberating; however, having around the people you trust allows you to take turns in leading the group. You also get to talk with these individuals who share your interests. Get these positive distractions that will keep you awake and help you avoid being fatigued. Arranging for companions should help keep sleepiness and fatigue at bay.
7. Get top quality gear
A fully functional helmet can make a lot of difference. As you expose yourself to the sun and the wind for long periods during travel, you become dehydrated, sunburned, wind burned or fatigued. Wear a vented mesh jacket and a full-face helmet to protect your face and body thoroughly. Wearing the right type of gloves will help you fight grip fatigue as well. Also, wearing earplugs may help protect you from wind noise, too, mainly exhaust noise from your bike’s pipes. Buy sunglasses that help you get better visibility for hours at a time, and wipe things down along the way for better visibility.
Understanding motorcycle rider’s fatigue is the first step to ensuring you take the best steps to fight it. There are several reasons that could get you into becoming sleepy, weak and tired on your ride. It is important to pay attention to them, learn how to get rid of these situations, and have a safe, fun and satisfying travel!