How To Avoid Falling Asleep While Driving Long Distances

Indeed, it is not easy to fight sleepiness while driving when you are tired, lack of sleep or driving downhill at night. However, if you know how, you can improve the situation in order to keep yourself safer.

When asleep, the driver’s reflexes will be slow to reduce alertness, very tense and the ability to handle situations is very inaccurate. Drowsiness and alcohol in the person while driving are the main causes leading to thousands of accidents each year. So how the driver finds himself in a state of alarm and tips to combat sleepiness?


Drawbacks of falling asleep while driving long distances

Recent studies of National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed that 20% of accidents and 12% of the “almost accidents” due to drivers falling asleep while driving. One driver was regarded as being “asleep” when he closed his eyes instead blinked, his head swayed forward and nodded back and instead rolling his eyes to observe the way or looking at mirror, his eyes are often dull and just focus on a fixed point.

However, in contrast to common perceptions, the majority of accidents caused by drowsy drivers occurred during the day at the time of crowded commuter traffic. Fewer accidents happened at night but often have severer consequences than by going at high speed and the driver was alone. The agency also conducted experiments and found the identification signs.

The cause of drowsiness while driving is mainly due to lack of sleep and fatigue. Besides, the use of antihistamines, cold medications also lead to distracted drivers. When the driver into a state of drowsiness, it causes the brain’s concentration drop, poor reflexes, causing a high risk of accidents. According to the experience of the longtime driver, sleepiness is not easy to resist, especially at night. But the phenomenon can prevent drowsiness by the following measures:

Get enough sleep before a long drive

If you know that you are going to drive at night, especially long-distance driving, the driver should get enough sleep (from 6-8 hours) before leaving. Besides, the driver needs to restrict the use of stimulants such as alcohol, beer; not overfeed; not use a cough and cold remedies, allergy medication before as they are easy to cause drowsiness.


Do not drive more than 4 hours

If driving continuously for 4 hours would cause excessive stress to your brain, poor concentration and reflexes slow down. Therefore, the long-distance drivers should have at least one person to take turns driving, or stop after 2 hours of continuous running, go out the car and go around for comfort about 15 minutes and then continue driving.

Have a driving and resting plan before going

This work should be done before driving the car. Avoid driving at the “peak” time of the sleepiness such as noon and midnight. This is the time when most of the impacts of measures to avoid drowsiness are promoting the lowest impact. You should take advantage of the soberest time to drive.

Stop the car to sleep in a few minutes

If too sleepy, the best way to ensure your safety is to stop and take a nap from 15 minutes or 1 hour depending on your conditions. Many drivers said they just needed a nap for 5 minutes that they were able to regain consciousness to drive several hours later without risk of drowsiness. You can have this useful nap right on the car when pulling over to the curb, cracking windows and setting alarm via mobile phone.


No abuse of stimulants to avoid drowsiness

Before and during driving, you can drink tea, specialty coffee, energy drinks or chewing gum, spicy candy…  and after about 30 minutes drinking coffee or tea you should continue on your body needs time to rest and to let caffeine infuse into the bloodstream. However, with a small number of sensitive people to react, then these measures are quite effective, but the majority of the remaining confirmed this therapy is effective only for a short distance, the same with the sour fruit measures, turn the radio loud with lively rhythm, and avoid melodic lyrical music; Chat with accompanying…

You should choose mint gum with spicy and cool taste to stimulate the vagus nerve, creating something like an electric shock to the nervous system, or sing along with the songs from favorite CDs, enhances rhythm breathing, blood circulation, and oxygen. If does not like music, you can hear the reading.

Cold towels and wash the feet

Some drivers will actually awake after wiping his face and washing the feet with a cold towel. Thus, you can prepare an ice box cold towels and water together before the long trip.

Anti-sleepy Equipment

Some drivers said they could fight effectively the sleepiness thanks to Anti-sleepy Equipment. When drivers nod ahead about 15-30 degrees, the device will vibrate and emit a loud sound to wake the user. However, some doctors say using this device could be harmful to health.


Depending on the budget, you can use some device to vibrate or play a sound large to avoid drowsiness. However, the driver should select suitable products for their health.

Stop when you find that you have just slept

Many drivers still tried to drive knowing they were sleepy. This is very dangerous because they may experience accident anytime. Therefore, when both aware that you had just dozed off please immediately stopped to nap or took the above measures.

If all of the above ones are useless, find a safe place to park, get off and walk around. Physical activity to increase blood circulation helps the mind work better and eliminate fatigue.

Lowering the windows

Before you continue driving, lowering the windows. If it’s cold outside, it’s an advantage because you will hardly fall asleep. So do not turn on the heater because hot air is a wonderful hypnotic way.


Sitting straight and more eye movement

While driving, sit straight and keep the eye moving. Bend forward will reduce the amount of oxygen in the lungs, and stare at a fixed point reducing brain activity

Self-playing games

These mini games such as note the passing places, or a “remember licenses of other cars” and you have to concentrate, stimulate mental activity and reduce fatigue to the eyes.

According to medical experts, each person needs to sleep about 6-8 hours per day. Suppressing sleepiness with drugs or any other equipment, including sound equipment, are not good for health, pulled the circadian rhythms of the body, fatigue, decreased concentration and can affect memory, panic, and paranoia … Even the situations require to use anti-drowsy (nerve stimulant), you also have to take a prescription of a psychiatric specialist.

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