Drivers can help reduce travel stress as well as crashes by watching how they fuel themselves for journeys.

 

As always during the festive season many people will be taking to the road for that special trip or to catch up with family and friends. As a result, holidaymakers can spend a lot of time behind the wheel and when they stop, their food choices tend to lean towards the ‘quick energy hit’ of high calorie fast foods.

 

A study by fleet operator in Britain during the 1970s discovered that a significant number of lorry drivers who had serious crashes had consumed a typical high fat meal in the half hour before the incident.

 

It shows that just like filling your car with the wrong fuel, the fuel you put into your body will impact on its performance too.

 

Recently, there has been some excellent information about low Glycaemic Index foods which were ideal for drivers.

 

High glycaemic index foods such as potatoes in chips or sugar in chocolate bars might give you a quick hit, but the energy you receive dissipates faster than foods with have a ‘slow burn’ effect such as pastas and wholemeal bread.

 

Drivers should consider having a lunch that includes wholemeal sandwich with salad instead of a burger. Instead of snacking on chips during the drive, look at alternatives such as almonds or cashew nuts.

 

Also, avoid soft drinks. They leave you bloated and uncomfortable – not the feeling you want when you’re trying to concentrate on your driving.

 

Parents can reduce travel sickness and some of the other stresses of travelling with children by watching what they eat.

 

When travelling with children it is so easy to get caught up in holiday mode and be less vigilant in watching what they eat.

 

By thinking ahead you can reduce the risk of a dealing with a child who has pent up energy and nowhere to spend it because they’ve been eating chocolate all morning, or just as distressing, a child who is suffering from travel sickness.

 

Fresh and dried fruit and plain popcorn are great snack foods, as are treats that contained a little bit of ginger, which is a great remedy for warding off travel sickness.

 

Travelling long distances can be very dehydrating so make sure children drink plenty of water. Water is less unsettling on young stomachs, unlike fizzy and other sweetened drinks.

 

Of course, Christmas usually means big meals and it would be wise not to take to the road for a long trip straight after the traditional Christmas lunch. The body works hard to process the big meal and it can leave you feeling very tired.

 

Plan your trip and make sure you’re well rested.

 

Finally, when you are on the road make sure you don’t forget to pull over and take a break every couple of hours.

 

Driving holiday travel tips

 

Russell White, managing director of driversafety.com.au says arriving at your destination safe and refreshed is as easy as following this checklist.

 

  1. Plan your trip ahead including where you plan to pull over to take your breaks
  2. Pack the car the night before
  3. Have a good breakfast with plenty of low GI foods
  4. Ensure you have plenty of water to drink
  5. Snack on healthy foods that provide sustained energy
  6. Provide children with games and activities as alternatives to ‘grazing’ from point to point
  7. Make sure where possible to provide shade from direct sunlight which exacerbates travel headaches and nausea especially in children
  8. Take those regular rest stops
  9. At rest stops, drivers should walk around and stretch as children play