It is becoming an increasingly known fact that driving while drowsy is more dangerous than driving while intoxicated. If you're planning a long drive, make sure you get plenty of sleep prior to the trip to ensure that you’re fully alert. Here are some tips to keep you vigilant:
Keep your taste buds awake
Chew gum to keep your mouth busy. It stops you from yawning, which stops the dozing off. Just make sure you keep chewing, even if your mouth gets tired of chewing. (This gum trick taken from truck drivers and it works really well!)
Don’t eat too much or you may start to feel sleepy. It’s good to have snacks that you can eat in small pieces, keeping you active for longer. Munching on an apple, orange, or even a lemon will keep your taste buds awake. The tangier and spicier the food items the better.
Drinking coffee works especially well since it contains caffeine. The frequent bathroom breaks will also keep your brain alert and looking for the next rest stop!
Sing along with the radio or have a conversation with someone in the car. Singing and talking both keep your mind active and won't interfere with your driving. Or you can do a little jig and move to the music, the more energetic the better!
Listen to music that you hate. If you listen to rhythmic and soothing music that you like then you’ll go into your happy zone and start to nod off. If possible, tune to a radio station that you normally can't stand and put the volume up high.
Keep things cool
Set the car temperature lower. A little cooler than you'd ordinarily like, but not too cold. Set the vents to blow on your face.
Alternatively, open the window. A strong, cold wind in your face can help you stay alert. If it’s too warm and cosy you might be inclined to doze.
Things to avoid
Avoid sugar. Sugar causes several responses in your system which result in drowsiness and brain fog some time later (a sugar crash). The faster the sugar was taken into your system, the stronger the effect.
Avoid prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that list drowsiness as a common side effect. Do not drive while taking these medications.
If you’re going to pull over and take a nap then use the passenger seat. The greater your distinction between the sleeping area and the driver's seat the better.