How to Stay Awake on Long Distance Drives


If you have a job where you find yourself on the road frequently and for extended periods of time, you have probably experienced drowsy driving at some point. Learning how to avoid getting sleepy on the road is imperative for driving focused jobs like long-distance truck drivers, for example.

Switch Your Schedule

Try to avoid being on the road overnight or in the late afternoon unless you are the type of trucker who is able to find loads and set schedules according to what works best for you. In other words, if you always drive overnight, you’re less likely to get sleepy than if you only occasionally drive overnight. Pay attention to your body and learn when you are the most alert.

Watch What You Eat and Drink

Avoiding alcohol is a no-brainer if you’re heading out on the road. Even if you are below the state’s legal limit, you could still feel drowsy. The same goes for medication. Everyone’s reaction to antihistamines, for example, is different. It might pep one person up and put another person to sleep. Try out any new medications from the safety of your couch.

Get Quality Sleep

Not only do you need enough sleep (seven to nine hours per night), but the quality of sleep is also important. It’s not good enough to lie in bed for eight hours if you’re awake for three of them. Whether you sleep in your rig or in a roadside motel, make sure your space is dark and cool. The best sleeping temperature is about 65 degrees Fahrenheit. When you arrive at a stopping point for the night, answer your texts and email first, get some food, take a shower, read a magazine and then go to bed without looking at your phone again. The blue light emitted from electronic devices is not conducive to sleep.

Micro sleeping and drowsy driving can cause an accident in as little as four seconds. Especially if you’re driving a large vehicle, be unflagging in your fight against sleeping at the wheel.