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Driving your car for long periods of time, especially at night, can be tiring and even the most careful and attentive driver can become sleepy and less alert. Here are some tips gathered from research on this topic.
Be Prepared: Get enough sleep before starting your drive.
Schedule Your Trips: Try to schedule your trip during the hours that you would normally be awake. Statistics show that the most dangerous hours to drive are between midnight and 6 a.m.
Avoid Taking Medication: Check the labels of your medications, many cause drowsiness. A common culprit is over the counter cold meds.
Keep Cool: Make sure that your car is well ventilated and not too warm, even in the winter. Open a window or use your AC.
Take Breaks: Short breaks, such as rest area stops or even stopping for a short walk will help keep you alert. A good rule of thumb is to stop every 100 miles or so, sooner if you are feeling tired.
Stop to Sleep: When planning your trip, schedule in overnight stops. If you need to stop earlier than planned, due to fatigue, you may be able to make up the time by getting an earlier start in the morning. If you are not able to stop for the night take a nap in a safe place such as a rest area or truck stop.
Avoid Drugs: Although they may keep you awake, they will not necessarily keep you alert.
Don't Drink and Drive at Any Time: It is well documented that drinking and driving is a very dangerous behavior.
These tips were gathered from the Texas Department of Insurance website.
If you chew gum, you won't fall asleep. Helpful when driving.
By Nugs from Bethlehem, PA
On those long trips where time is of essence, fight sleep by nibbling on any type of food/snack. The act of chewing uses face muscles that affect your eyelids. As long as you are using the muscles it takes to chew on something your eyes will stay focused and your eyelids will not droop. I do not know how long this action will be useful but I have used it several times. I just keep an apple in the car and when I start getting sleepy, I start nibbling.
Source: This fact is from personal experience. I travel quite often and just happened to notice the change when I am tired. I discussed it with friends and some said that they also noticed it.