For many of us who drive to work or a living, drowsy driving may seem like an unavoidable part of life. However, some driving methods can help with a bit of tiredness. In this article, I’ll go through 10 strategies for avoiding drowsy driving and how to keep yourself awake while driving.
What Makes You Drowsy While Driving?
Drowsy driving is when a driver is tired or exhausted while operating a vehicle. Even if the driver has not ingested alcohol, research has shown that driving when sleep-deprived has similar effects to driving while drunk. Impaired concentration and coordination, a delayed reaction time, and poor judgment are some of the side effects.
Inadequate sleep can affect everybody, but some people are more susceptible to sleepy driving than others. These are some of them:
- Tow truck drivers, semi-truck drivers, trailer drivers, and other heavy vehicle operators.
- Shift employees that work at night or for long periods
- People who suffer from sleep issues such as insomnia and sleep apnea.
- Those who take drowsiness-inducing drugs
Sleepiness and Fatigue Symptoms
It’s never a good idea to expect to be able to combat sleepiness and weariness for an extended time. Driving when sleepy is a severe risk that should not be taken lightly. If you see any of the indicators listed below, pull over and take a break. You can resume driving later once you’ve rested and refueled.
Stop driving when you suffer any of the following symptoms:
- You have no recollection of the last few kilometers you drove.
- You have a lot of stray or disconnected ideas.
- You can’t seem to focus or keep your eyes open.
- Take note of how your head is leaning forward.
- If you find yourself drifting out of your lane or striking rumble strips, it’s time to take action.
- Yawning regularly.
- Feelings of agitation and restlessness.
- Continuously rubbing your eyes.
If you detect these symptoms, pull over immediately into a well-lit, public area and rest until you feel safe enough to drive again.
How to Keep Yourself Awake While Driving? 10 Effective Ways
#1 Get enough sleep
It is critical to get enough sleep to be awake and alert. You’ll be more aware and focused when driving if you give your body the rest it requires. If you’re going on a long journey or a road trip, it’s best if you can schedule it after a decent night’s rest. This will ensure that you have enough energy to stay alert and avoid driving when tired.
#2 Have a caffeinated drink
While driving, a cup of coffee, tea, or other caffeine-infused beverage is an excellent way to stay awake and attentive. Drinks that are high in sugar, on the other hand, should be avoided. You’ll feel more tired when the sugar high fades off. So instead, make a pot of your favorite brew before leaving the house, or visit your nearest coffee shop if you start to feel sleepy.
#3 Go for a drive with a friend
Sometimes all you need is a little power sleep to keep going.
If you have a long drive or are going on a road trip, try driving with a friend so you can take turns driving if one of you becomes sleepy. Long-haul drivers, particularly those who drive tractor-trailers across the state for 12 to 15 hours daily, use this method frequently.
#4 Don’t drink and drive
Drinking and driving put you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road in danger. However, even permitted levels of alcohol for operating a car can produce drowsiness when driving. So if you’re already weary, you should be extra cautious.
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs that cause drowsiness, notably anti-allergy tablets, are the same. Before driving, make sure to verify the adverse effects of any new medications. Consider taking public transportation instead if these side effects include drowsiness.
#5 Turn up the volume on the radio
Anything louder than 90 decibels is guaranteed to catch your attention and keep you awake. This, however, comes with a caveat. Listening to loud music might potentially harm your hearing, so follow this advice with caution.
#6 Open all windows
Rolling down your windows is a quick method to fill your lungs with fresh air and wake you up. However, this will not work in the long run. Your body will eventually become accustomed to it, and the effect will fade. Use this before pulling over and taking a break from driving if you need a quick cure.
#7 Stay away from sleep-inducing medications
It’s advisable to avoid taking any medicines that produce sleepiness or drowsiness to avoid sleepy driving. You may discover an OTC medication that does not have these adverse effects in most cases. With prescription drugs, though, this can be a little more difficult. So before driving, be sure you understand how your medicine affects you.
#8 Take regular breaks
Sitting in one posture for an extended time can make you feel tired and fatigued. It’s better to stop and take a rest every two hours if you’re traveling lengthy distances. Moving around, stretching your legs, and even getting out of the car for a few minutes might help you feel more energized and aware.
#9 Don’t forget to drink plenty of water
Drinking plenty of water may seem counterintuitive for long road trips, but dehydration can occur if you don’t. Dehydration causes fatigue and sleepiness, which are two things we want to avoid. Furthermore, pausing to use the restroom will allow you to get out and stretch your legs and refresh yourself.
#10 Make smart driving decisions
It’s advised to avoid traveling between 12:00 and 6:00 a.m. if you’re planning a long road trip. During these hours, most drivers report the highest tiredness and exhaustion. In addition, motorists are 20 times more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel at 6:00 a.m. than at 10:00 a.m., according to other studies.
Driving while drowsy is dangerous. It can be considerably riskier than driving while intoxicated. To stay awake while driving, try some of these tactics. Also, if you regularly find yourself tired when driving, don’t be afraid to look into other modes of transportation.