9 Tips to Stay Awake When Driving

Good ventilation and a comfortable temperature are key factors for staying awake while you’re driving, because excessive heat can cause drowsiness
9 Tips to Stay Awake When Driving

Last update: 30 November, 2018

Falling asleep at the wheel can be deadly. When you travel by car from city to city it can save you the cost of a plane ticket, but you need to remember that you may grow tired in the driver’s seat after a while and stay awake when driving.

It’s important to be prepared, stay alert, and limit the things that will make you drowsy on the road.

Here are some tips to remember so you don’t fall asleep at the wheel.

1-Get plenty of rest before you get on the road

If you’re planning a long road trip, it’s a good idea to get at least a seven hours’ rest prior to departure.

Sleeping well will help you stay alert for the next few hours.

It’s been proven that people who get too little sleep the night before are three times more likely to have poor concentration the next day.

When you’re already fatigued, your ability to maneuver and respond while driving can be affected.

2-Eat light during the trip

Stay Awake When Driving
Drivers who take long trips and eat heavy meals along the way are more likely to fall asleep, even while driving during the day.

Eating red meat and complex carbohydrates in large quantities will lead to heavier digestion, which induces a sleepy state.

What happens is that your digestion requires much more energy, which will make you feel tired. A light, balanced meal could save your life.

3-Be sure to eat a good breakfast

Super breakfast

The first meal of your day gives you energy and provides you with what you need to maintain full psychological and physical faculties during the trip.

A breakfast with plenty of protein, carbohydrates, and minerals will keep you alert for the first half of the day.

4-Good ventilation

Good ventilation
Driving in hot weather or without air conditioning can limit your oxygen supply and cause you to feel drowsy.

On the other hand, a cool breeze will help you stay alert. It’s important to eliminate all outside factors that can cause tiredness or exhaustion.

Exposure to intense heat can lead to:

  • Increased tension
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

All of these factors could increase your risk of losing control while you drive.

5-Take advantage of rest stops

Staying focused on the horizon for long periods of time generates tiredness and expends a good deal of energy. A good way to avoid this is to take short rest stops to lower your stress and breathe in some fresh air.

It’s well known that taking regular breaks increases your attention and brain activity. A pause for 10 to 15 minutes every two hours of driving can clear your mind and will improve your reflexes if you need to respond quickly to a situation.

6-Drive at moderate speeds

Drive at moderate speeds
Driving at high speeds forces you to dodge other vehicles and stay alert. It sharpens your senses, but it also means that fatigue will come on more quickly.

It’s better to drive at more moderate speeds and have energy for longer.

7-Avoid driving between 2 and 5am

Emotional Emptiness

Your body has more intense urges to sleep between the hours of 2 and 5am. It is accustomed to enter into extreme relaxation during those hours.

In this period, REM or deep wave sleep occurs.

That’s when your nervous system relaxes, which increases your level of risk if you’re behind the wheel.

8-Alcohol makes you less alert

Alcohol makes you less alert
You already know why you shouldn’t drive under the influence of alcohol. In addition to that, alcohol in low amounts has sedative and inhibitory effects on the body.

Beer and other beverages affect the neurotransmitter known as GABA, which regulates states of anxiety. The result is a loss in alertness while you’re driving.

  • Taking antidepressants, sleeping pills, or anti-allergy pills can be equally harmful.

9-Bring along a co-pilot

It’s easy to stay awake when driving if you have a talkative co-pilot on your journey. This is particularly helpful when driving at night.

They can warn you about any incidents on the road and pinch you if you start to nod off. You can even take turns driving.

  • It’s important that the person next to you also doesn’t fall asleep. Otherwise, your own chances of slumbering behind the wheel will increase.
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