5 effective tips for staying awake while driving

Surely, at some point in everyday life, every driver has faced or will face the tough task of staying awake while driving. What to do in these cases? First of all, there are two things to keep in mind.

The first thing you should know is that, according to research from the University of Los Angeles, a long state of wakefulness, even with a few brief naps in between, can affect neurons just as much as .05º of alcohol in the blood.

This implies a considerable decrease in reflexes, loss of memory lapses and great difficulty in maintaining concentration. Undoubtedly, a terrible state of alertness to be avoided at all costs, which brings us to the next point.

The second thing you should know is that the best thing to stay awake while driving is prevention.

There is no hidden or very clever trick to reveal, it’s just a matter of planning your sleeping hours well so that you don’t harm them and they don’t harm you.

In this article we will teach you several things that help you stay awake while driving based on prevention as the main form of road safety.

1. What to drink to stay awake while driving

What to drink

The best drink to stay awake while driving and in fact, the most consumed drink in the world for the same reason is coffee. We are not going to get too technical explaining how coffee works in the body, but we will tell you the following.

What caffeine does is to delay the circadian rhythm for approximately 40 minutes. This means that coffee can help us stay awake longer, but it does not eliminate drowsiness.

It is important to understand this, so that you do not make the mistake of believing that five cups of coffee will keep you awake all night on a highway, even though it is the best drink to stay awake while driving.

For those who, for health reasons, cannot ingest coffee, you are probably wondering how to stay awake while driving without caffeine and the answer is very simple. The second most consumed beverage in the world: tea.

You may be interested in reading: 10 tips for safe winter driving.

2. How to stay awake while driving

There are many myths about things to do to stay awake while driving. Some of them are true, but most are not. Let us illustrate this point for you:

What to do

Organize your trip! Do you have a long road trip ahead of you, more than the amount of waking hours you should have? Get a good night’s sleep before you leave; take a co-driver with you to alternate driving duties; research the route for rest stops.

What not to do

Subtle distractions

You’ve probably heard that listening to music, chewing gum, smoking and the like may keep you awake at the wheel. This is untrue; a great deal of drowsiness will be able to take away what little attention you can devote to any of these activities.


You’ve probably heard of one or another app to keep you awake while driving. Most of these apps seek to force the brain to work when it is struggling to rest.

We’re not lying when we tell you that you’ll most likely end up throwing your cell phone out the window… ergo, forget this “solution.”


We do not recommend pills to stay awake while driving, since no legal stimulant will offer enough energy level to activate a tired brain.

You may be interested in reading: How to drive in a rain.

3. Avoid driving at night

Avoid driving at night

If you are used to sleeping at night and maintaining an active wakefulness during the day, it won’t matter if you take a nap in the evening or if you decide to get up much later in the morning that day.

Your body will automatically respond to the natural function and daily habit of releasing melatonin after the disappearance of sunlight. Therefore, signs of drowsiness will inevitably appear while driving.

How to stay awake while driving at night.

The best way to stay awake while driving at night is to have already created a sleep habit with the changed time cycle. Something that can take time, but gradually the body is able to get used to everything.

4. Clean up your sleep habits

Signs of sleepiness while driving are not something that occurs only on extraordinary and out-of-routine trips. Most people do not have a good sleep habit and may notice symptoms of drowsiness in everyday driving.

So how to stay awake while driving drowsy? To avoid this problem, you should look for ways to achieve a truly restful sleep:

  • Organize your day so that you can get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
  • Organize your bedroom to ensure you sleep; with the right temperature, no things in the way in bed, no noise and with the light off.
  • Do not sleep with your cell phone nearby, or your cell phone or computer on. The light from the screen greatly affects your eyesight.
  • Do breathing exercises or meditation to eliminate stress before bedtime.

You may be interested in reading: How to merge into traffic without being in danger on the street?

5. Meet the villages of Village-relais

Have you ever wondered how to stay awake while driving long distances, like truck drivers do?

Knowing that not only vacationers can spend dozens of hours on a road trip, but there are also people who make a living out of this kind of routine, the government has created certain spaces on the highway.

Spaces specially created for drivers to take breaks from their long hours of travel. These spaces are known as village-relais.

A village-relais is a municipality recognized by the Ministère des Transports that offers, in cooperation with local businesses, a variety of services and a pleasant and safe place to stop.

In addition to services, the villages-relais offer travelers cultural and natural attractions, quality amenities and an environment that suits them, making visitors want to extend their stay.

This is, without a doubt, the best answer to how to stay awake while driving.

We hope these tips to stay awake while driving will be helpful for your next emergency exit and yes, remember that only a true emergency is the only reason to drive drowsy.

If you would like to supplement this information, we invite you to read the tips for staying awake while driving recommended by the SAAQ website.

Now that you know how to stay awake while driving, we invite you to learn about other interesting articles on our blog and share this article with your friends.