The early bird gets the worm, but the early driver gets cranky

I love spring. For many people, it represents a new beginning. For some others, it can be troublesome. Daylight Savings Time is approaching and that means more light into the evening. Yay! I’m in favour of light later on in the day, but as a driver, the early morning changes can also spell trouble for some drivers.

Moving the clocks forward means we initially have that extra hour of daylight. However, in the morning it also means for those of us who typically head off to work while it’s still dark outside will now be able to start our trek in lighter conditions. That too works for me. The only problem is my body isn’t used to getting up at that time. My current internal alarm clock would make me late for work. It’s just like getting up an hour sooner over the first week or two. Yuck.

Whether I like the early mornings or not, we still have to adapt and cope with the traffic. Therefore we need to ensure we’re fully awake before dealing with the traffic. The first thing is to ensure you’re mentally awake, not just physically awake. How can you survive your earlier morning of too much traffic, perhaps not enough time to get to work and of course…maybe not enough coffee?

Personally, although I do enjoy the mornings (I admit it. I’m a morning person), I need about 10 or 15 minutes to really wake up. Coffee, moving around a bit to get the blood flowing, talking to…the cat…and at least a quick wash up will get me going in the mornings. But what if that’s not enough time to get your brain in gear? Remember, you lost a whole hour of sleep overnight! What can you do to become fully awake before entering your vehicle? Driving while not fully awake can result in a traffic violation, a collision or just a rough start to your day.

Eating the proper foods can wake up your brain. Did you know a simple glass of water can help you wake up quickly? A nice glass of cold water first thing in the morning after waking up can help you wake up faster. Many people tend to be slightly dehydrated after waking up. Mild dehydration can sometimes make your brain fee like it’s in a fog so adding liquids, other than coffee, can make a difference.

I’m not a “breakfast first thing in the morning kind of person”, but I do like grabbing some fruit before I head out the door. Fruit has been known to wake us up quicker than coffee. I know, I didn’t believe that either, but it’s true. Apples are great and stay with you for quite some time without the “crash” that sugary products such as donuts and breakfast bars can cause. Bananas and berries are also good starter foods.

Being mentally awake means you’ll be able to make clearer driving choices, have better reactions to the traffic and make better judgement calls. Now wake up and get out there!

(As written for The Mountain News)

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