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Tips to stay awake while driving

  • Safety Tips
  • Xavier Sabastian
  • 6 minutes

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Driving while sleepy is not a good idea. We’ve all done it at one point or another, and it isn’t easy to avoid. Fatigue has a way of sneaking up on you. So, what should you do if you’re stranded far from home and exhausted? For the most part, it’s a case of pushing through and trying to stay awake. Booking a hotel is a waste of time and money if you have plans. We have put together a list of tips to stay awake while driving.

Basic tips to stay awake while driving

Red flags to notice while driving

Falling asleep on a pitch-black highway is far more than a little inconvenience. It can be fatal – drowsy driving is 15% of all highway accidents. Microsleep, a brief, uncontrollable period that can last up to 30 seconds, is one such threat. It’s possible to fall into it without realizing it. Even if it’s only for ten seconds, it’s enough to cause a crash.

Tired Modern Family GIF by PeacockTV

If any of the following applies to you, get off the road as soon as possible:

  • Yawning and scratching eyes frequently
  • Can’t recall the last several miles 
  • Mind-wandering, not focused on the road
  • Drifting over the rumble strip and into other lanes 
  • Tailgating

One of the tips to stay awake while driving is pull over

What to do when you feel sleepy when driving

Before driving again, find a safe place to stop for 20 minutes, lock your car, and take a quick nap. Before you get back on the road, you can follow the following tips to stay awake while driving.

Turn on the air conditioning in the car: Open the windows or turn on the air conditioning to wake you up. Aim the vents away from your eyes if possible to avoid drying them out.

Play some songs: However, if you listen to too many loud or rapid tunes, you won’t be able to tell if the engine is struggling or if someone is about to slam into the back of you.

Gum chewing: Chewing gum, according to scientists, can make you feel less weary by preventing you from yawning.

Have a cup of coffee: Thirty minutes before driving, a modest dosage of caffeine is good — black coffee or unsweetened tea is preferable.

Not heavy meals, but healthy snacks: Don’t drive full or empty — eat nutritious snacks like bananas, hard-boiled eggs, apples, or dark chocolate regularly.

Extend your legs: Mild exercise can help your brain get more oxygen while also giving your body a break from sitting for long periods. This is the most common tip for staying awake while driving.

Tired Season 4 GIF by Portlandia

Best way to stay awake while driving

While these methods can provide a temporary energy boost, they are only temporary, and they aren’t meant to keep you awake for more than 15 minutes. Our survey of American drivers studied these quick ways to combat fatigue while driving. They concluded that if you need to accomplish any of them, you should take a break and rest.

Taking regular naps is the best line of action. The researchers discovered that 15-minute naps taken every six hours could maintain function for up to 35 hours without sleep. Naps can indeed make such a difference, and even closing your eyes for four minutes in your seat can help. Furthermore, they do not compel you to alter your plans, and it’s as simple as pulling into the nearby parking lot or service station.

However, your nap should be no more than 20 minutes; any longer will make you feel even more fatigued while your body adjusts to the full eight-hour sleep it requires.

Stay awake while driving by having a quick power nap

What to do to stay awake before you drive?

Here are six more techniques to avoid driving exhausted if you’re planning a lengthy trip:

Look into all of your travel possibilities: Consider using public transportation, such as rideshare apps or carpools, especially if you’ve had previous issues with drowsy driving.

Is there no other choice except to drive: If possible, drive when your body is used to being awake – early in the morning rather than late at night.

Get six to nine hours of sleep every night: To help your body develop a habit, try going to bed and waking up at a set time. Don’t be tempted to sleep in late after staying up late the night before. Because more sleep will cause your routine to be disrupted.

Make time to unwind before going to bed: Take a bath, drink a hot beverage, read a book, or listen to soothing music. Avoid staring at your mobile phones or tablets. These devices will influence your quality of sleep.

Take a passenger with you: They can keep an eye on you, engage you in conversation to keep you from becoming tired, and even take over the steering wheel in an emergency.

Take into account your eating habits: While caffeine can provide a brief boost of energy, if you get reliant on it, you’ll have to increase your intake regularly since it loses its effectiveness. Caffeine addiction can cause sleeplessness, hypertension, and weariness.

Reasons as to why you struggle to be awake while driving

While researchers discovered that fatigue-related accidents are more likely on long highway rides, they also discovered that driver fatigue could impair daily commutes, even if they are only a short distance. Don’t merely expect you’ll get used to going to and from work if it exhausts you. Examine alternate routes and modes of transportation.

Traveling regularly could potentially make it more difficult. According to studies, crashes are more likely to occur within five miles of home — the risk of losing attention is higher if it’s a familiar route.

If you’re constantly tired you might have narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a long-term condition in which the brain can’t regulate its sleeping patterns. In most countries, you must report your illness to the authorities and refrain from driving until you are no longer experiencing symptoms.

On the other hand, sleepiness behind the wheel is almost certainly an unavoidable result of a long journey. It has an impact on all drivers, especially at night. Even if we’re in great health, we should all take precautions. We all know how important it is for a driver to react promptly to hazards. If you can hardly keep your eyes open, that’s not conceivable.

Bottom line: 

When possible, avoid long nighttime drives in favor of other modes of transportation. Maintain a regular sleeping schedule. Also, eat nutritious food. A healthier lifestyle isn’t a quick fix that produces instant results. In fact, it will keep you awake for longer. This is the best tip to stay awake while driving. This is better than downing an energy drink while blasting heavy metal and hoping for the best.

Homer Simpson GIF

Here’s more info on top-rated airport parking, the best parking spots in your city, the most affordable insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you.


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