When anybody is considering, or having to drive long distance it is very common to become tired, especially night time driving after a long day. Other then pulling over in a safe area and having a nap, what other alternatives are there to stay awake whilst driving?
Take a look at the following top tips and steps that can help to keep tiredness at bay –
If you’re planning a long drive, make sure you get plenty of sleep prior to the trip to ensure your senses are at optimal performance.
Open the window. A strong, cold wind in your face can help you stay alert, although make sure it doesn’t dry out your eyes to the point of challenging how well you can see (this is especially common if you wear contact lenses).
If driving with other people, alternate drivers and sleep whilst you’re not driving.
Sing along with the radio or have a conversation with someone in the car. Avoid talking on a mobile as it’s both dangerous and illegal. Singing and talking are both active things you can do that won’t interfere with your driving.
When alternating drivers, make sure the next person is rested enough to start driving.
Listen to music that you hate. The more annoying you find it, the better. Whatever you do, don’t listen to music you like, especially if it’s rhythmic and soothing. You’ll go into your happy zone and start to nod off. If possible, tune to a station that you normally can’t stand the variety of a radio station will help. Put the volume up high.
Take a friend on the passenger seat so they could keep you company and talk to so you won’t doze off.
Chew gum to keep your mouth busy. It stops you from yawning, which stops you from dozing off. Just make sure you keep chewing, even if your mouth gets tired of chewing.
Play some fast, energetic music. Avoid relaxing music as it may make you even more drowsy.
Set the car temperature lower. A little cooler than you’d ordinarily like. But not cold, as your body and brain need to stay warm enough to function well.
At night, turn the interior light on. Darkness causes your body to produce melatonin, the hormone that puts you to sleep, much faster than tiredness. Plan ahead and put the light on before you get tired, if at all possible, because once you have melatonin in your system it is difficult to return to a wakeful state without a 15 minute nap.
Avoid sugar. Sugar causes several responses in your system which result in drowsiness and brain fog some time later. The faster the sugar was taken into your system, the stronger the effect.
Drink beverages slowly. Coffee works especially well since it contains caffeine, which might keep you awake. (However, see next note.) Also, the frequent bathroom stops will help your mind stay alert for the next rest area!
If all else fails, pull the car over in a safe area, such as a rest stop or petrol station, and walk around. Physical activity will get the blood circulating.