Staying Alert While Driving at Night

night traffic on highway

Driving at night can be interesting, to say the least. as an example, last night I drove from Thousand Oaks to Orange County after my niece’s high school graduation. It was really late and I found myself boxed in by two big rigs. Then, I saw another big rig driving very close to another big rig and their mirrors hit. I was sure there was about to be an accident. Luckily, everything was fine. However, I wanted to put together some tips on staying alert while driving at night. Especially if you are driving alone. If you are suffering from serious injuries due to an accident, contact an accident attorney in our office. Consultations with a car accident lawyer at Silverthorne Attorneys are free!

Accident Attorney | Staying Alert While Driving

First thing’s first – make sure you are prepared for the drive. Studies show that if you get enough sleep before hitting the road, you are less likely to be involved in an accident. Driving while drowsy can have the same impact as well as the same outcome as driving under the influence.

Eat Your Greens

I know that it can be difficult to eat healthy while on the road. However, if you eat a meal rich in whole grains, vegetable, and lean protein before you leave, it will definitely help keep you on track. Foods that contain a lot of water will help with hydration and will help keep your body and brain awake.

  • Packing healthy road trip snacks such as carrots, fruit, nuts, etc. will help provide you with a natural dose of energy. the act of chewing and the sensation of food on your tastebuds will help combat drowsiness;
  • Though typical road trip snacks such as chips and sweets can be tempting, try to avoid them. You may end up with a sugar high and crash soon after;
  • Avoid heavier and rich foods. Foods that are too rich cause your body to work over time in order to digest. This means that it takes the energy from your brain to process all of the food you just ate.
    • Which can make driving a bit more difficult

Bring A Buddy

I usually like to go on road trips alone because then I am not on anyone else’s time table by my own. However, it can be extremely beneficial to have company while driving at night. Recruiting a passenger won’t only help you with directions, but they will also help you be more alert. Your co-pilot can also help determine whether or not it is time to switch drivers.

Keep Your Brain Active

Consume caffeine in moderation. You do not want to rely entirely on caffeine in order to stay away, but it certainly can help. Studies have shown that caffeine can sharpen your brain and focus for several hours after consumption. Don’t overdo it, coffee is a diuretic, meaning that you may need to take more bathroom breaks more often than you planned. If coffee makes you jittery, try drinking half-calf or drinks low in caffeine like green tea.

Make an Awesome Playlist

Music can always be motivating and if it is upbeat, it is shown to have an energizing effect. Music keeps your mind occupied and stimulated. I usually make a road trip playlist every time I drive up to see my family in the Bay Area. You don’t have to turn the music up too loud (by why not?) in order to feel the energy. Loud music will help you feel energized, it can also negatively affect driving performance. Try to make as little adjustments to your playlists as possible.

Lately, I have also been listening to podcasts in my car. They keep you alert and it’s fun to learn something even as I am driving. Granted, I enjoy listening to true crime podcasts, but they are so captivating and interesting. It makes the time go by so much faster and also keeps me focused.

Take A Break

If you find yourself getting tired on your road trip, pull over to a rest area, gas station, or parking lot and walk around. Sometimes your body just needs to stretch and your mind needs a break from all of the stimulation on the road. Getting out and taking a brisk walk will get your heart rate up, get your muscles moving, and boost your brain function. This is even more helpful if it’s cold outside. Cold temperatures act as a shock to the system, with will spike energy and alertness.

Roll Down Your Window

Sometimes, a little fresh air can help. It can also help keep you alert to have some cool, fresh air on you. Having chilled air come into your car will be rejuvenating and will prevent drowsiness. in addition to dousing yourself with cool air, drink something cold and refreshing. One of the most difficult things I have while on a road trip is making sure I am drinking enough water.

All of these can help refresh you, but they won’t solve your fatigue for hours at a time. Know your body and what you can handle. If you can, allow yourself some wiggle room.

If your eyes start getting tired while you are driving at night, let them rest. Find a hotel along the way, pull over to the side if you can.

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