Four tips for staying awake while driving

Life is tiring. The sad truth is that you may have to get behind the wheel when you’re tried. Maybe you have to work late and you need to go home for the day, or maybe you’re on a road trip, so far from your destination that you have to push on as it grows late. This does increase the risks for you and other drivers.

To stay awake while you drive, use these four tips:

1. Don’t be afraid to nap first.

Even just spending a half an hour sleeping can help. Yes, you may not have much time, but you’ll waste a lot more time if you’re in a car accident.

2. Drive with someone else.

This person can distract you by talking to you, helping you stay awake. If you’re both tired, you can take shifts, perhaps each driving for two hours and then sleeping while the other person drives.

3. Drive at a safe speed.

People sometimes think they need to speed because they’re so tired. They’re just trying to get home — and off the road — quickly. However, it’s dangerous to speed because it cuts back on your reaction times, which are already reduced since you’re tired.

4. Watch what you drink.

Coffee can help you stay awake, even if you don’t necessarily feel rested and refreshed. Alcohol can make you very tired. One drink may not put you anywhere near the legal limit, but it can make an accident more likely.

If you use these tips and drive safely, but you’re hit by another driver who dozed off, make sure you know your legal rights to compensation.

Source: Sleep Foundation, “How to Stay Awake on the Road,” accessed July 20, 2017