If you want to learn how to stay awake while driving, chances are you drive over long distances, drive home after a lengthy day at work, or drive when you didn’t sleep well the previous night.
Here’s the thing: Driving while sleepy can pose a risk to you and other road users. So, how do you stay awake while driving?
In this post, we’ll get to know how to combat tiredness and stay alert while driving, and know when you need to pull over quickly.
How to Stay Awake While Driving
1. Avoid Consuming Alcohol if You Intend to Drive
Drinking and driving pose a risk to your safety, the safety of your passengers, and the safety of all other people on the road.
Alcohol impairs your driving skills and magnifies fatigue. Even allowable amounts of alcohol can make you sleep behind the wheel. Moreover, it is unlawful to drive under intoxication.
2. Sleep Enough
Individuals who do not get seven hours of sleep every day are more likely to be involved in a sleepy driving accident. A good night’s sleep is the only thing that can replace a lengthy drive.
Sleep is critical for health and recovery.
You know, 20 hours of awake time, an individual is as impaired as someone legally drunk. When sleep-deprived, you are prone to micro-sleeps, tiny breaks in focus.
3. Avoid Driving During Periods of Drowsy Hours
Try to avoid driving late in the afternoon or between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m., when the most drowsiness-related accidents occur. If this isn’t possible, be as cautious as possible while driving.
Focus on the warning signals that you’re drowsy, like meandering across lanes or colliding with speed humps, and keep a watch out for similar behaviors in other drivers.
4. Drink Caffeine and Water
Caffeine enhances attentiveness, alertness, and focus. On the other hand, caffeine is a diuretic, and excessive ingestion during a lengthy drive might result in dehydration. Consume plenty of water to prevent dehydration-related tiredness.
5. Avoid Eating Unhealthy Snacks
Sugars and carbs that have been refined may provide a brief boost. The ensuing insulin spike can significantly increase fatigue on the road.
Consume a banana, salad, or another nutritious food to stave off the carb crash. This will result in a sustained release of energy rather than a quick spike.
Since sleep deprivation increases the hunger hormone ghrelin, it may appear challenging to resist the desire to consume sugary snacks. Avoid them at all costs.
6. Exercise During Breaks
When you need a break, stroll around or perform some stretches. This increases your blood flow and assists your concentration.
It also helps you avoid backache or muscular aches brought by prolonged sitting. While driving, try to stay upright and change positions frequently to reduce strain.
7. Listen to Podcasts or Music
Listening to the musical beat of your favorite songs via the best car speaker can help you stay more awake. Keeping brain activity and reflecting on podcast topics can assist you in maintaining attention on the road.
However, listening to too many loud or rapid tracks will impair your driver’s awareness, preventing you from hearing when the engine is struggling or when someone is ready to speed into the rear of you.
8. Always Take Breaks Where Necessary
Don’t put yourself under pressure if you’re late to your destination. Stop at a fuel station and rest or book a motel if you feel fatigued. You can complete the drive when you’ve sobered up.
9. Get Some Cool Air in Your Car
You can open windows or put on the air conditioning for cool air to rouse you. Avoid drying out your eyes by directing the airflow away from them whenever possible. That can make you lose your visibility.
10. Tag Along a Friend
Consider driving with a friend, especially if your journey is lengthy, so you can alternate driving responsibilities if one of you becomes tired.
This is a popular approach employed by long-haul drivers, particularly those who spend up to 12 to 15 hours a day driving heavy trucks across the country.
And this is an excellent option to think if you live near coworkers or have friends or family who also drive to work.
11. Try to Chew Gum
Chew gum speeds up the blood flow to the brain and briefly helps ease sleep deficiency symptoms. It is not a solution for prolonged drowsy driving.
12. Consider Taking a Power Sleep
It would be best if you stopped to catch a nap every four hours on longer journeys. A brief nap might make you feel rejuvenated, more alert, and in a better mood.
Keep the nap brief (10-30 minutes) to avoid falling into deeper sleep, which may cause you to feel drowsy upon awakening owing to sleep inertia.
13. Avoid Driving When Taking Medicine
Drive cautiously if you have taken certain medications. Drowsiness and poor concentration are possible side effects, which could lead to drowsy driving.
This effect can be produced by sleeping tablets, psychotropic substances, analgesics, and even allergy medications.
If you have any questions about the effects of a medication, you should consult your doctor also if you suffer from a medical illness such as persistent exhaustion or insomnia.
How to Know if You’re About to Sleep While Driving
Before we finish, let’s see some of the indications that can help you know if you’re about to fall asleep on the wheel
- Have difficulty keeping your head straight.
- If you have difficulties concentrating or maintaining your eyes open
- When you start swerving out of your lane or make contact with a rumble strip.
- If you can’t recall the last few kilometers you drove, you may be going to doze off.
- In case you begin wandering or having incoherent thoughts.
- Repeatedly yawn.
Final Word on How to Stay Awake While Driving
From the article, we understand that anyone can avoid sleeping while driving. Although there are measures when you follow keenly, you won’t fall victim.
The ideal solution is to avoid feeling weary in the first place; this involves you avoiding lengthy nighttime travels if possible, maintaining a regular sleeping schedule, and eating healthy foods.
While a healthier lifestyle will not provide instant benefits, it will keep you up for longer than downing an energy drink and hoping it works.