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Driving While Sleepy: Tips to Help you Stay Awake

Tips for Staying Awake on a Long Drive

It can be very difficult to stay awake when making a long journey by car. The hum of the road acts like a lullaby, the passing scenery can become hypnotic and before the driver knows it their eyelids are drooping. Of course, this can quickly become a very dangerous situation. Driving while sleepy is something to be avoided, although sometimes this is impractical. Whatever the reason for the long drive, it is imperative the driver find ways to stay awake.

Tips for staying awake on a long road trip

Obviously, certain tactics will work for some people while different ones will be best for other drivers. Here’s a list of some tried and true methods for helping drivers stay awake behind the wheel.

  • One of the best ways to stay alert while driving is to make sure and get plenty of sleep before heading out on the open road. That means getting at least eight hours of sleep the night before. On the other hand, it can be detrimental to nap right up until the time to leave.
  • Eat a small meal before heading out on the journey, but don’t eat too much either! A large meal can make people sleepy, but having some food in the belly will start the inner processes of digestion that can help keep people awake.
  • Take periodic breaks to stay refreshed, especially when the effects of fatigue can be felt. Stop at a rest area and use the restroom, take a short walk and stretch the muscles. This should be done every couple of hours even if not feeling sleepy in order to remain alert. If the area appears safe and the driver is comfortable, it might also be helpful to take a short nap before resuming the journey.
  • Caffeinated beverages can help many drivers stay awake, but there should be some caution used when consuming them. The effects of caffeine can wear off later, leaving the driver feeling even more tired than. In addition, drivers may lose some of their alertness despite not feeling sleepy.
  • If feeling tired, turn the radio on or, if it already is, turn it up. Bring along a wide variety of favorite music and audio books that can help keep you awake. Use audio books sparingly, however, because the cadence of the reader’s voice can lull many drivers to sleep.
  • Have a supply of snacks and beverages handy that can help break up the monotony of driving. These should be small items that won’t require the driver to take their attention away from the road or will need to be unwrapped.
  • If the night is cool, crack the window a bit to let fresh air into the vehicle. Stale air can cause drowsiness. Using recirculated air could result in a buildup of CO2.

Staying awake during a long road trip can be difficult. Those that plan ahead and don’t get in a rush will be able to find easy ways to keep their attention on the road and make sure they reach their destination safely.

This post has been contributed by Charlotte Fletcher on behalf of Monkey Insurance, a car insurance comparison site that has more useful tips for drivers.


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