When you have to keep driving and stopping for the night isn’t an option, you need to find ways to keep those eyelids open so you arrive at your destination safely.
That’s not as easy as it sounds – highway hypnosis can set in before you’re even aware it’s happening.
Drive with a Friend
Sometimes, you just need a quick power nap to be able to keep going.
Try driving with a buddy, especially if you have a long commute or are going on a road trip, so that you can switch off driving responsibilities when one of you gets drowsy.
This is a common strategy used by long-haul drivers, especially people who drive tractor trailers across the country for as much as 12 to 15 hours in a single day.
And this is a good strategy to consider if you live near anyone you work with or have any friends or family members who are also driving where you need to go.
Get a nap in beforehand
Nothing can substitute for a good rest — even if it’s just for a few hours (or a few minutes!).
First and foremost, try to get a healthy amount of sleep so that you’re well rested for your drive and throughout the whole day.
But if that’s not possible, take a nap for at least 15 to 30 minutes before you have to drive. According to a 2012 study Trusted Source, even a short nap can get you the slow-wave sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep you need to feel refreshed and alert.
The National Sleep Association suggests a pre-drive nap can do a lot of good for your mental state during a drive.
Put on some tunes
Some of your favorite music can help you focus and stay alert.
Play some songs you know the words to so you can sing along and stimulate your brain. Or put on something energetic to get you pumped and wake yourself up.
Whether it’s classical or country, funk or folk, mákina, or metal, music has been linked to mental alertness, which can help you stay focused on the road.
Have some caffeine
Caffeine is the world’s most popular (and legal) stimulant. It can get you through a lot of other parts of your day that make you drowsy, so why not try it while you drive?
A 2012 studyTrusted Source found that even just one cup of coffee can help reduce the effects of sleep deprivation, which can make you drowsy when you drive.
A 2013 studyTrusted Source found that caffeine can even lower your risk of crashing on long drives.