While experts tell us that we should never drive drowsy, the truth of the matter is that most of us do. We need to get where we are going, and not having had enough sleep is no excuse to not make it to school, work or important appointments. It’s not an acceptable excuse anyway. If you find yourself more tired than awake the next time you have to drive, use these tricks to stay awake.
1. Take a Break
If you can swing it time-wise, taking a break can help to recharge your batteries if you feel yourself falling asleep behind the wheel. If you notice that you are having difficulty focusing, are struggling to keep your eyes open or are missing signs that you pass, pull over. Stop at a gas station or rest area and stretch your legs for a few minutes.
Caffeine can heighten your awareness and focus for several hours. If you are tired in the morning, drink two cups of coffee before you head out. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, two cans of soda can have the same effect, though it is not nearly as healthy as coffee.
3. Skip Medication
Prescription medication can make you more drowsy. We are not suggesting that you don’t take your medication, only that you wait to take it until you have reached your end destination.
4. Take a Buddy
If you notice that you are frequently tired during your commute, consider joining a carpool. Driving with other people in the car can help keep you awake. Let your friend know that you are feeling a bit sleepy and ask them to be on the lookout for any signs that it would be a good idea to switch drivers.
Many people travel for work or recreation. Some choose to travel at night when the roads are less congested. If you count yourself among this group and find yourself getting sleepier than you feel is safe, stop for a few hours. If you can stop for a full night’s rest, even better.
Driving while drowsy is a dangerous habit that too many people get into. It’s understandable that you need to get where you are going, but getting there may not happen if you drive while you are too tired to do so. Use the tips above the next time you are feeling your eyes getting heavy behind the wheel.
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