How to Avoid Falling Asleep While Driving

Find a safe place to pull over if you feel sleepy.
Find a safe place to pull over if you feel sleepy. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Driving when you aren't fully rested endangers you and everyone around you, whether they're passengers, drivers or pedestrians. If you're drowsy or fatigued, your reaction time slows and your attention span may wander. Even if you're awake and alert when you start off, you may struggle to avoid falling asleep during long trips. Take steps to remain focused on the road ahead so you get where you're going safely.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottle
  • Ice
  • Water
  • CDs
  • Audio books
  • Pillow
  • Blanket

Get plenty of sleep. Aim for at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep a night to feel fully rested.

Fill a bottle with plenty of ice and top it off with water before you leave. Use a bottle that will fit in your car's beverage holder so you don't need to take your eyes off the road to reach for it. Sipping cold water will help you stay alert, as well as hydrated.

Pack a snack. Avoid fatty foods, which will make you feel more lethargic. Snack on veggies, fruit or lean protein; examples include apple slices, celery sticks, baby carrots, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, trail mix, and dehydrated fruit.

Roll down your windows when driving during mild or cool weather; the fresh air will help you stay alert. Blast your car's air conditioning if it's too hot outside or if there's too much exhaust from other vehicles.

Keep your mind engaged. Listen to the radio or your favorite CDs. Sing along with the music or play an audio book if you're taking a long journey. Talk with your passengers.

Take a break if your attention span wanders or if you feel like your eyes are starting to glaze over. Find a safe place to park so you can rest your eyes or nap for 15 to 20 minutes.

Tips & Warnings

  • © 2008 [CCROCK]. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited

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