When you have to keep driving and stopping for the night isn’t an option, you need to find ways to keep those eyelids open so you arrive at your destination safely. That’s not as easy as it sounds – highway hypnosis can set in before you’re even aware it’s happening.
That’s setting the stage for an accident because drowsy driving can mimic the effects of drunk driving – you’ll lose concentration, your reaction time will be slower, and you might completely fall asleep and leave the roadway or crash into another car. That means keeping your mind alert is imperative for your safety.
There are several key signs that you might be too tired to drive, and the best solution is always to pull over and get some sleep when you can. Those signs include burning eyes, heavy eyelids, daydreaming, not remembering driving the past few miles, yawning a lot, drifting out of your lane, feeling grumpy, and having your head nod off as you drive.
If you notice any of those signs, here are tips to help keep your mind refreshed and your eyes wide awake and focused.
Turn On Some Music
It’s best to avoid slow music when you’re already tired. Instead, pick songs that will energize you, like pop, rock, or even heavy metal.
The noise will give you a jolt of electricity so turn up that radio and have fun.
If there was ever a reason to load up on caffeine – whether through tea, coffee, or soda – a road trip is it. Caffeine will keep you stimulated and alert. But you’ll need a steady infusion of it if you’re on a long trip. If you stop drinking it before you reach your destination, you’ll have a sudden energy crash while you’re behind the wheel.
Put Down the Windows
Getting some fresh air may be enough to keep your eyes open. Fresh air, especially when it’s cold, can be refreshing and can snap you out of your daydreaming when you’re behind the wheel.
If you don’t want to put down the windows, opt for turning on the air conditioner instead. A blast of cold air will keep you awake. If the air is too warm, you’ll feel even sleepier.
Take a Quick Pit Stop
Getting out and walking around for a minute can help energize you. Whether you find a park and take a quick stroll or you simply wander around a gas station looking at the snack section inside, the simple act of moving around might keep you awake.
Talk to Someone
If you’re driving solo, you can call up a friend for a quick conversation. But make sure you aren’t holding your cell phone up to your ear – in some states it is illegal to speak on a cell phone while driving. The best way to chat is by using a hands-free device. Having a conversation may help keep your mind stimulated and your eyes open.
While the tips above will help you stay awake when you’re already on the road, it’s even better to plan ahead, so you don’t put yourself in the position of driving while tired. Here are some things you can do to avoid that scenario before you even leave on your trip.