How to Stay Awake While Driving and Prevent Drowsy Driving

By Dejan B.. Published on May 20, 2017

It is very important to get inside a car all fresh and ready to drive and you should never get behind the wheel if you are feeling sleepy. In some cases, it is difficult to predict when the drowsiness will take over and knowing what to do in these situations can be helpful. Here we have a bunch of tips about how to stay awake while driving.

Take Plenty of Breaks

It is wise to take plenty of breaks, especially if the trip is long and you are having trouble concentrating on the road ahead. When you see a sign, pull over at a gas station and stretch out a bit. You can also go for a walk to keep your blood flowing. It is recommended that a driver should stop and take a break after every two hours of driving.

feet out car window

Listen to Loud and Upbeat Music

Listening to loud and upbeat music will help you stay awake while driving. You should avoid turning on a radio station that plays classical music or some ballads from the 80's. Go for some rock & roll tunes that will move your body!

Eat a Healthy Meal before Hitting the Road

Eating healthy at home is definitely a good thing, but consuming healthy meals before and during a long trip is also very important. Healthy snacks and fresh meals contain plenty of minerals and vitamins; therefore, it is better if you have some vegetables and a low-fat snack rather than a greasy burger before driving.

Salad and salmon plate, a healthy meal

Avoid Alcohol and Medications

Drinking and driving is definitely a bad combination and no one should get behind the wheel intoxicated. There are also medications that can cause drowsiness and you should stay away from them. If you are taking some pills, read the label and see if it is advised to drive under the influence of this medication. You should also keep in mind that some meds which are taken on an empty stomach can also cause drowsiness and nausea.

Drink caffeine

It is proven that caffeine gives energy to a human body and that by having drinks that contain a certain amount of caffeine; you will increase your chances of being awake and focused on the road. The good news is that every gas station sells coffee and other drinks that contain caffeine. Grab a cup of coffee or some green tea to prevent drowsy driving.

Caffeine impacts your health while driving

Take a 30-minute Nap

If you didn't get enough sleep last night before going on the road, you will probably start feeling sleepy and tired after a couple of hours of driving the next day. Pull over and take a 30-minute power nap. Many people are suspicious about short naps and don't think they help that much, but according to several studies, it is proven that even 20 minutes of sleep improves alertness on the road. After taking a nap, you will fresh refreshed and ready to start driving again.

Get a Good Night's Sleep before the Trip

Get enough sleep before you hit the road! I know it's not always possible to get 8 hours of sleep on the night before the trip, but at the same time, I am sure you would like to avoid feeling sleepy while driving. It is also wise not to start driving super early in the morning if possible, simply because not all of us can fall asleep at 9 p.m. and have those 8 hours of sleep.

Turn on Air Conditioning or Open up a Window

If you are driving during the summer season and feel sleepy for some reason, make sure to turn on the air conditioner in the vehicle. The temperature inside the car plays an important role in preventing drowsiness. You don't need to keep the air conditioning working the whole time, just turn it on every 30 minutes to decrease the temperature in the car. In case it's a bit chilly outside and you need some fresh air, open a window and feel the cold wind on your face.

a hand outside of a car window

Try the Buddy System

Have you heard of the Buddy System? It's a thing when you bring someone on the road to help you stay awake by having a conversation or splitting the long drive. This way, both of you will get a chance to rest a bit by taking turns in the driver's seat.


Carol on 8/19/2021, said:

Good tips

Kate on 1/13/2022, said:

Good information! Also, if travelling with spouse or close friend, hold their hand gently and squeeze it now and then to keep them alert and you can feel back if their nerves are falling asleep and then stop, walk, drink caffeine, etc.

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