Don’t Sleep on Drowsy Riding

Heavy-eyed, you trudge across the parking lot to your bike. It’s 2:30 in the morning. You shouldn’t be riding. You know you shouldn’t be riding.  A couple miles down the road you’re swerving like a four-year-old with no training wheels.

You’d think twice about riding drunk, so why ride drowsy? According to the National Safety Council, staying awake for 20 or more straight hours creates the same mental impairment as a blood alcohol content of 0.08, which is legally drunk. Drowsiness lowers reaction times, hazard awareness and focus.

Fatigue doesn’t just affect overworked truck drivers and road-trippers. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that 9.5% of all crashes involve tired drivers. For motorcyclists, drowsiness is as dangerous as falling asleep. Fatigue impairs a rider’s ability to stay awake, alert and attentive to the demands of controlling their bike. Like drinking, it’s important to know your limit. But it can be hard to tell how tired is too tired.  After all, there’s no breathalyzer for lack of sleep. If you experience any of these signs it may be time to pull over to a safe spot for a little cat nap.

Tell-tale signs of tired bikers:

  • Missing road signs or turns
  • Difficulty maintaining speed
  • Drifting out of your lane
  • Persistent daydreams or disconnected thoughts
  • Yawning or Blinking frequently

We know you’ll have some long days on the road. At times you may get tired. When that time comes, get some sleep before riding on. Here are some tips to make sure your rides stay inspired and never tired.

Treat Your Taste Buds

Small, flavorful meals and snacks shock your taste buds and boost energy. Drinking water fights tiring wind dehydration and helps avoid the crash that comes with sugary drinks (no pun intended).

Plan Ahead

Take some time to pick rest stops when you map out your route. Stretching your legs every 100 miles or two hours gets the blood pumping and perks you up.

Bump Some (Bad) Tunes

Here’s a crazy tip – listen to music you don’t like. The familiarity of old favorites can make you too comfortable. If you’re worn out, it might be time to throw on the dreaded tune that sticks in your head like it’s covered in rubber cement. We recommend Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts.

Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

Eat a meal your mom would be proud of. A balanced, healthy plate of whole grains, fruit, lean meats and vegetables gives your body fuel for a long ride. Fast food contains fat, salt and sugar that makes you sluggish and sleepy.

These tips will help you stay alert, but there is no replacement for a good night’s rest. The best way to ride alive and not sleep deprived is getting seven to nine hours of shut-eye every night. Resting before a long ride just might save your life.


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