but there’s one situation where staying awake is vital but you’re probably not going to have your espresso machine on hand, and that’s when you’re driving your car and you start to feel drowsy. The safest thing to do in such a situation is pull over and rest until you can drive in a fully awake and alert state of mind, but there are also things you can do to ward off drowsiness when you know you’ve got a long drive ahead of you. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to driving while sleepy.
First of all, it’s important to recognize the signs that you’re too tired to drive and you need to pull over as soon as possible. One of the first signs is that your eyelids feel heavy, you’re blinking a lot, and you feel like you want to close your eyes, just for a second, to feel better. Your visual awareness of the road and the cars around you is one of the most important things, so when your eyes can’t stay open, you can’t keep driving.
Your vision is only as good as your ability to focus and make sense of what you’re seeing, so if your mind starts to wander and you have trouble concentrating on driving, that’s another sure sign that it’s time to stop driving. Irritability and forgetfulness are clear symptoms; if you keep missing your exit or getting your directions mixed up, it’s probably time for a driving break.
Other physical signs can include difficulty holding your head up, yawning, and restlessness. If you find your car drifting into other lanes or hitting the rumble strip on the side of the highway, that’s a pretty clear indicator that you’re too tired to drive.
If you have passengers, it’s especially important to be fully alert when you drive. They can help keep you awake, but their safety is in your hands, especially where younger people are concerned. You need to be focused enough to make sure kids are seated properly, that car seats are safely installed, and things like that.
There are a few things you can do to endure a long drive without getting drowsy too soon. Making sure you get enough sleep before you start your trip is probably the most important one. Drive during the daytime if at all possible; your body is naturally attuned to shut down at night during your regular sleep cycle. Most importantly, avoid alcohol at all costs! Even if you are well under the legal limit, it can still make you much more inclined toward drowsiness. And finally, how about that espresso shot? Caffeine can help keep you going a little longer, but remember that the effects will wear off, so you can’t rely on coffee alone to keep you going. Remember these tips and drive safe, wherever you’re going!