Your cure for trying to stay awake while driving does not work. Studies have been conclusive that opening your windows to get a little breeze on your face or turning up the radio is not an effective way to keep you awake when extremely tired or fatigued while driving.
Driving drowsy is simply dangerous. It can take the same amount of attention off the road as if you were distracted by your phone or cause the same amount of delay in your reaction time as if you are near the legal limit of blood alcohol content. However, driving while sleepy continues to be a problem and nearly a third of people in a survey said they had recently drove when they were so tired they could barely keep their eyes open.
What can you do to ensure you are alert without the possibility of becoming tired or drowsy while driving? Make sure you are doing these things.
Enough sleep – The recommendation from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention is that you should get at least 7 hours of sleep. When you barely sleep and then put in a full work day, you are risking injury or even death to yourself and other drivers during your drive home.
You may need to see a doctor – If you are getting adequate sleep but remain drowsy during your waking hours, you may benefit by seeing a doctor. What you may believe is a full night asleep might be only a partial night sleep due to sleep apnea. You could also be facing other health conditions that can easily affect sleep and keep you tired throughout the day.
Look at your meds – Another thing you may want to speak with your doctor about if you are always feeling tired is your medications. Several of the medications you are taking including muscle relaxers, anxiety drugs and blood pressure medications may make you drowsy. Sometimes, the mixing of different medications can cause fatigue.
Be prepared for long drives – If you know you will be on an extended drive, make sure you are not only properly rested, but that you are well hydrated while traveling. A little caffeine and regular stops on a long drive can really help fight drowsiness.
Have a companion with you – Having another person with you in the car can keep you awake with conversation or they can take over for you if you are just having a hard time staying fully awake.
If you continually find that you are fighting yourself to stay awake while driving, then you should be taking further steps to combat this problem before you cause an accident. Slapping yourself in the face or turning up the air conditioning are not effective methods to fight fatigue. The best bet for staying awake while driving is providing yourself adequate rest before getting behind the wheel.