If you find yourself getting sleepy behind the wheel, you're not alone. GoodCar wants to show you our tips on how to avoid nodding off while driving. Apart from impeding your ability to drive safely (there's potentially life on the line here), dozing off unexpectedly can lead to horrible consequences and is never worth the risk of tacking on a few extra miles. Let's start with understanding what leads us to feel sleepy in the first place.
Why Do You Need to Stay Awake When Driving?
When you're driving, it's important to stay awake and alert. Drowsy driving is a leading cause of car accidents and can be fatal. If you're feeling tired, there are a few things you can do to stay awake and safe on the road.
First, ensure you get a good night's sleep before going on a long drive. If you can, take a nap before hitting the road. And while you're driving, take breaks every two hours or so to rest your eyes and stretch your legs.
Second, keep your mind active by listening to upbeat music or an engaging podcast. And if you're traveling with someone else, chat with them to stay awake.
Third, stay hydrated by drinking lots of water or caffeine-free beverages like herbal tea. Avoid sugary drinks, as they can make you feel more tired.
Finally, if you start feeling sleepy, pull over at a rest stop and take a short nap. It's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to drowsy driving!
Is There Danger in Not Staying Completely Alert While Driving?
When most people think about fatigue-related accidents, they envision a sleepy truck driver drifting off at the wheel after driving for hours. However, drowsy driving is not only a problem for commercial truckers but also a significant safety concern for anyone who gets behind the wheel while tired. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (aka NHTSA), drowsy driving was a contributing factor in 72,000 crashes and 44,000 injuries in 2013.
Most people are aware of the dangers of drunk driving and driving while texting, but many do not realize that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous. Driving while sleepy can negatively impact your reaction time, judgment, and ability to make split-second decisions. It can also cause you to have trouble paying attention to your surroundings and staying in your lane. More people need to know how to stay awake on long drives and how to not fall asleep while driving.
If you find yourself feeling drowsy while driving, there are some things you can do to stay awake and alert. First, make sure you get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel. If you're going on a long road trip, take breaks every few hours to rest or switch drivers if possible. Avoid drinking alcohol before driving, as it will tire you even more. And finally, if you start to feel yourself nodding off, pull over immediately and find a safe place to nap.
Alcohol and Driving: How Safe is it Really?
We all know that drinking and driving don't mix. But sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where we must drive after a few drinks. Maybe we're out at a party or a bar, and we've had a few too many. Or maybe we're just tired and want to get home quickly. Whatever the reason, it's important to know how alcohol affects your body and your ability to drive safely.
How Alcohol Affects Your Body
Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows down your nervous system. This can affect your judgment, coordination, and reaction time. It can also make you feel drowsy or dizzy, and your body relaxes more; what happens when your body relaxes? You get sleepy! So, as your blood alcohol content (BAC) increases, so does the risk of accidents. Just a small amount of alcohol can impact your ability to drive safely.
The Effects of Alcohol on Driving
It's estimated that alcohol-related crashes cause about one-third of all traffic fatalities in the United States annually. That's over 10,000 deaths! And these accidents aren't just due to drunk driving; even drivers with low blood alcohol concentration levels are at an increased risk for crashes. In fact, drivers with a BAC of just 0.02 – about one drink – are twice as likely to be involved in an accident as sober drivers. Clearly, alcohol is not one of the best ways to stay awake while driving.
How to Keep Yourself Awake While Driving
We've all been there. You're driving home from work or heading out on a road trip and start feeling sleepy. Before you know it, your eyelids are getting heavy, and it's getting harder to keep your head up. Fighting sleep while behind the wheel is dangerous, but here are some tips to stay awake while driving.
Here are some methods for staying awake while driving:
- Get a good night's sleep before you hit the road. This is the best way to prevent fatigue in the first place.
- Take frequent breaks. If you feel sleepy, pull over at the next rest stop or gas station and take a 20-minute nap or walk around for a bit. Don't forget to hydrate!
- Eat healthy snacks. Avoid snacks full of sugar, as they may help pep you up to start, but they all end in a sugar-crash. Instead, go for something with protein or healthy fats like nuts or seeds.
- Drink coffee or tea. Caffeine can help fight off sleepiness for a short time. Just be careful not to drink too much—caffeine can cause dehydration and make you more vulnerable to accidents.
- Play music loudly. Listening to music can help keep you alert and awake while driving. Upbeat songs are especially effective at keeping your energy levels up.
Exercising Before Driving
It is a proven fact that exercising before driving can help you stay awake when driving. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which have been shown to improve mood and alertness. In addition, exercise increases your heart rate and gives you more energy.
If you're feeling sleepy while driving, it is best to pull over and take a short nap. If you cannot pull over, try some of these tips on how to stay awake while driving long distances:
- Drink coffee or another caffeinated beverage
- Eat a healthy snack
- Turn up the music and sing along
- Call a friend or family member to chat
Finding a Riding Partner
If you're driving long distances, it's important to stay awake and alert. One of the best ways to do this is to find a riding partner. Having someone to talk to will help keep you awake and focused on the road.
When looking for a riding partner, try to find someone who shares your interests. This way, you'll have something to talk about during your drive. You should also make sure that your partner is a good driver. You don't want to be stuck in a car with someone who's constantly making mistakes or getting pulled over.
If you can't find a riding partner, there are other ways to stay awake while driving. Listen to music or audiobooks, drink coffee or energy drinks, and take breaks every few hours.
Alternate Route Planning
If you get drowsy while driving, it is best to take measures to stay awake. One way to do this is to plan your route ahead of time and consider any potential areas where you may feel sleepy.
For example, if you know that you tend to get drowsy after lunch, you may want to plan your route so that you can stop for a quick nap or cup of coffee before returning to the road. Alternatively, you could take a different route that avoids any areas where you are likely to feel drowsy. Planning your route can help you avoid potential pitfalls and ensure you safely make it to your destination.
Always Focus on Safety When it Comes to Driving
If you struggle to stay awake while driving, try out some of these tips. From drinking coffee to listening to music, there are plenty of ways to help keep yourself awake and alert while behind the wheel. What do you think is the best way to stay awake while driving? Let us know in the comments below! Everyone at GoodCar is excited to hear your feedback!