Whether you’re experienced motorhome travellers or have only recently caught the touring bug keeping yourselves and your motorhome safe is your primary responsibility.
Arranging adequate motorhome insurance for your needs is a key part of this, as is staying as alert as possible when you’re behind the wheel.
Tiredness when driving your motorhome can be of particular concern for those exploring the further reaches of the UK and beyond.
But it’s easier than you think to protect yourselves from tiredness – read on for our top tips on how to combat this ever-present danger.
Road safety charities have been collating statistics on driving accidents for some time and they make sobering reading.
- Worldwide, fatigue contributes to 10-20% of road crashes
- 4% of fatal crashes in Britain are caused by tiredness
- Peak times for fatigue-related crashes are between the hours of 2am to 6am and 2pm to 4pm when drivers are naturally sleepier
- Drivers at 6am are 20 times more likely to fall asleep at the wheel than at 10am
The AA has also reported that one in five accidents on major UK roads are caused by tiredness and that:
- 13% of UK drivers admit to falling asleep while driving
- 37% report feeling so tired that they’ve been scared of falling asleep
- Men (17%) are three times as likely as women (5%) to say they’ve fallen asleep while driving
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) says that accidents caused by tiredness are 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury as they tend to be high speed impacts.
A driver who has fallen asleep cannot brake or swerve to avoid or reduce the crash.
No matter how experienced a driver you are, motorhome driving demands exceptional powers of observation and attentiveness.
And while drowsiness is dangerous in any vehicle, it’s especially so in one of such size and with such power over others on the road.
Feeling tired can affect your driving abilities in various ways:
- It can slow your reaction time
- It can cause lane drifting
- It can make it difficult to maintain a consistent speed and distance from other vehicles
- It can make you miss vital information
Tips for beating fatigue while driving your motorhome
Most, if not all of these tips rely largely on exercising common sense and not pushing your boundaries too much.
However, the most important thing to do when you feel tired is to stop as soon as it’s safe to do so.
This does not include stopping on the hard shoulder of the motorway!
Particularly if you’re setting off early in the morning make sure you get the recommended eight hours of sleep before a long trip.
Research has shown driving on less than five hours of sleep greatly lowers your chance of staying awake.
If you’re driving late in the day having a nap beforehand can help you stay alert.
Plan rest breaks
It’s recommended to factor in a rest break of at least 15 minutes at least every two hours of driving.
Even if you’re not feeling tired, on such long and monotonous journeys it’s crucial to break up the driving by stretching your legs and getting some fresh air.
If you do feel like you’re dropping off, there’s really no substitute for a 15-minute nap in reducing sleepiness.
Coffee or energy drinks can reduce driver tiredness over short periods if combined with a nap.
However, this is only a short-term solution. If you still have a long way to go then consider staying put to get some proper rest.
Avoid peak ‘tiredness times’
Internal body clocks are usually set to deal with normal lifestyle patterns, so extra care needs to be taken when you’re driving during a time you would normally be at rest or asleep.
Avoid these times if possible and remember, even if you’re not sleepy, another driver may be!
Share the driving
If possible, share the driving. If that’s not possible, make sure you plan your trip so that you have enough rest stops.
It’s easy to drive huge distances, but if you’re not used to it, it’s best to break it up. Even if you’re used to it, apply a safety-first approach and take breaks.
If you’re sharing the driving make sure to check your motorhome insurance to check all drivers are covered.
Don’t drink alcohol
While drink-driving is obviously an offence, even just one small alcoholic drink could cause you to feel drowsy behind the wheel.
An unacceptable risk particularly when driving a large powerful vehicle such as a motorhome.
Plan your route
It’s one of the great benefits of touring with a motorhome that you can go wherever the road takes you.
However, taking the time to plan your route in advance can help combat tiredness as you don’t end up detouring and driving for longer than you absolutely need to.
Watch what you eat
Try not to eat a heavy meal just before driving, as this can make you feel sleepy.
Know your medication
Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medication can cause drowsiness so make sure you speak to your GP to check you’re still safe to drive.
The key to combating tiredness is to take it easy, take your time, take precautions where you can, and always err on the side of caution.
The best motorhome trip you can ever have is the one where you and your motorhome return in one piece.
Protect yourself with motorhome insurance
Before you head off on your latest adventure, don’t forget to arrange that ever-important part of the preparation: motorhome insurance.
Getting the correct coverage means you can get on with enjoying your tour together knowing you’re protected against accident or theft.
The specialist team at Motorhome Protect can provide a range of quotes on motorhome insurance that could provide the following possible benefits:
- Unlimited cover across all the countries that are part of the EU
- Cover for motorhomes with a value up to £150,000
- Unlimited mileage cover
- Consideration of all claims and convictions
Get a quote from Motorhome Protect today.