What do you do to stay awake when driving at night or long distances? Our bodies are programmed to sleep at night and be awake during the day. Unfortunately, our busy lifestyles create a need to drive during the nighttime hours. Sleepiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness, and impairs judgment. Driving long distances or at night can be extremely tiring, but there are a few things that you can do to stay awake and alert. In this blog post, we will discuss ten tips that will help you stay awake while driving.
Tip #01: Get plenty of rest before you drive.
If you’re tired, it won’t be easy to stay awake while driving. Make sure that you get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road. Driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving while impaired by alcohol. In fact, drowsy drivers may actually experience slower reaction times than drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.5% or lower. It’s important for you to get plenty of rest before your drive. Research also shows that males between the ages of 18 and 29 are at a higher risk for drowsy driving than other age groups, so take extra care if you’re in this age range.
Tip #02: Drink coffee or energy drinks.
Coffee and energy drinks are great for keeping your eyes open and mind alert. If you start to feel drowsy, drink a cup of coffee or an energy drink to help perk yourself up. One of the best ways to avoid excessive drowsiness while driving is staying awake, alert, and energized. It may sound simplistic, but being adequately hydrated and well-fed can significantly influence driving ability. Drinking a lot of water or energy drink like Monster energy drink or Red Bull energy drink before and during a long drive is a great idea, especially if you’re prone to falling asleep. Studies show that caffeine, found in coffee, increases alertness and can help you focus for longer periods. A 230 ml cup of Filter Coffee has about 120 mg of caffeine, equivalent to 2 shots of Espresso.
Tip #03: Open the windows.
When you’re driving, make sure that you keep the windows open. This will allow fresh air to circulate through the car and will help keep you awake. Opening the windows of your car, especially when you are driving at night or during the winter months, can be helpful because it allows you to wake up. This is due to two things:
The air that comes in when you open the window is usually colder than the air inside your car (meaning fresh and thicker). The noise created by the wind and outside objects traveling at high speeds also helps us wake up.
Tip #04: Play loud music.
Listening to loud music while driving will help keep your mind alert and focused on the task at hand. If you are a teen driver, you can choose a playlist of upbeat, energetic, and motivating songs to listen to while driving. It turns out that playing loud music helps you stay awake when driving at night or long distances. Because of how the brain works, your brain needs stimulation to keep awake when you are tired. It is well established that listening to music while driving reduces fatigue and also improves moods, with drivers reporting less stress and a greater alertness on the roads.
Tip #05: Use caffeine pills or energy pills instead of coffee or energy drinks.
Caffeine pills and energy pills can be just as effective for keeping you awake as coffee, or an energy drink would be. If you don’t like the taste of coffee or if it makes your stomach upset, consider using caffeine/energy supplements. They’ll give you all the same benefits without any unpleasant side effects. Just make sure not to exceed two per day because they could cause jitters in some people who are sensitive to caffeine. The effects of caffeine show that it improves alertness, mood, and reaction time and therefore keeps you awake and aware while driving. When used correctly and alongside proper sleep patterns, caffeine can improve wakefulness for tired drivers during the late afternoon, evening, and night.
Tip #06: Chew gum or suck on hard candy.
Chewing gum or hard candy can help keep you awake. The reason behind this is that chewing strengthens your facial muscles, jaw muscles, and tongue, which help keep you alert. Sucking on hard candy or chewing gum will keep your mouth busy and distracted from any boredom that might set in while driving for long periods of time without stopping. It’s also helpful if you have a sweet tooth, as it can help curb cravings during those times when all you want is something sugary. Just be sure not to exceed two pieces per day because they could cause jitters in people who are sensitive to sugar.
Tip #07: Take a break every few hours.
If you’re feeling tired, take a break every few hours and get out of the car to walk around and stretch your legs. This will help refresh your body and mind and will make it easier for you to stay awake when you resume driving. Stopping every few hours can be enough to reduce suffering from fatigue and help break up the journey. If you need more rest, book into accommodation and get some sleep.
Tip #08: Drink water.
Drinking plenty of water while you drive is not only good for your health but can also help keep you awake. Dehydration can cause feelings of fatigue, so make sure that you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day (especially if you’ll be driving long distances). Water helps to maintain lubrication on the eyes, nose, and mouth and keeps them from becoming dry. Staying well hydrated prevents tiredness, reducing the chance of nodding off at the wheel.
Tip #09: Avoid medications
Avoid caffeine, antihistamines, and other over-the-counter medications. These might make you feel more awake at first, but they have a rebound effect that can make you more tired later on. Some prescription drugs (like allergy medications) can also make you drowsy. Combining these with alcohol can be especially risky.
Tip #010: Pull over and take a nap if necessary.
If all else fails and you find yourself struggling to stay awake while driving, pull over and take a nap. A quick 20-minute nap can do wonders for restoring your energy levels and helping you get back on track. Just make sure that you set the alarm so that you don’t oversleep.
The above tips will help you travel your long-distance safely without feeling drowsy. Some people think that the drugs they abuse help them when driving at night or long distances. However, this is not true. Drugs make you feel like you are wide awake while your actual ability to drive may be impaired. It can weaken your body’s natural protective reflexes, such as blinking and slowing the heart rate, making you a danger to yourself and others on the road.
Call to Action
If you want to get the best driving skills, enroll in Edmonton’s best driving school, Arrow Driving School. You can register yourself with Arrow Driving School and start getting the best driving lessons that will help you improve your driving skills. If you are an amateur in driving, we have specific personalized programs that will make you become a good and safe driver. We also offer refresher driving lessons, and we link you with our insurance partners so that when graduate from our driving school you have your auto insurance.