How to combat sleepiness when driving
What do you do when you HAVE to drive somewhere and you are sleepy or are not the correct condition to drive? Well, this is a question that is posed quite often, loved ones ask one another…”Do you have to leave so late?” Most of us reading a car blog like this can agree that we enjoy cars, we like to learn about them and we appreciate useful information regarding how to be better at driving them. If you like to drive and especially at night because traffic may be less intense and you can really let the throttle lose and just go – then you may have experienced a very common phenomenon.
Sleepiness while driving. Driving a car requires a combination of coordinated efforts. Lets see: Hands on the wheel control what direction you go in, your right foot in an automatic and left and right in a manual car have to operate simultaneously. So at this point we have the coordinated efforts of two actions, now we need to be aware of our speed as to not put ourselves or others in harms way. Then we have our surroundings, the unknown to try to factor in and these increment exponentially if it is nighttime and visibility is less.
Therefore imaging trying to coordinate all of this, seamlessly all the while your eyelids are heavy, you keep yawning incessantly and you do the tricks that you know in order to stay up. 1) open the windows, putting your windows down can help you wake up especially if it is a little cold out. The cold air that whips your face and arms can have a very sobering effect on your sleep. 2) Rock out, turn the radio up as high as you can. It would be better to get accused of noise pollution verses crashing because you are tired. Once you are rocking out to a good song, why not sing along and really get into it.
It is hard to be sleepy when you are listening to a song that you really enjoy. If your yawns are getting more progressive, then pull over. If you are driving on the highway, find the next rest stop, gas station or restaurant and go to the parking lot to rest. If you are resigned to driving and cannot do anything to avoid it and need to get from point A to point B now…then drink or eat something sugary or an energy drink. These tend to process fairly quickly into the body and when you get that ever familiar sugar high then you should be able to squeeze some more miles out of your journey until you can stop somewhere safe.
These suggestions are helpful if you are alone, but it is even better if there is someone in the car with you, because they may not be tired and can get you to your desired destination. You can discuss anything under the stars or merely go to sleep now that the driving is left to someone else. If you have ever taken a road trip with kids then you will know that there are boundless games that are easy and fun to play while driving down the road. Off the top of my head is “I spy”, you see something and then use a word to describe it, it is red, small and in the car. This gets the passenger thinking and you can get some good miles underway playing this innocent and super engaging game.
Stretching can be a great way to combat sleepiness. Stop, get out and stretch. It is important to remember that being tired behind the wheel is no different than being under the influence, you do not have 100% of your faculties and it is risky and dangerous. What we recommend is that you realize that no matter how much you may want to get to your destination, it makes more sense to get there later or earlier and not risk not only your life but everyone’s around you as well. Food for thought.