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johnnywayne2
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Joined: Sep 11, 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:00 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Sometimes it's hard to stay awake while driving, even if you've slept well the night before. Occasionally I drink a RedBull or something but I've found that iPhone apps help quite a bit.

What do you all do to help yourselves stay awake while driving?
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Astraist
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Joined: Mar 27, 2010
Posts: 209

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:38 am Reply with quote Back to top

When not to drive: When fatigued from lack of sleep or long-term activity, when tired from physical activity, when injured or ill (influenza has been found extremly hazardous), when intoxicated or under the influence of drugs of any kind (even some cough remedies or decongestants are hazardous), after a heavy meal, when in a bad emotional state, in advanced pregnancy.

Sleep: Proper sleep and rest hours are the most significant thing to do to avoid fatigue at the wheel: A minimum of eight of hours sleep and preferably more. Also, an additional rest without doing any physical activity before any long drive helps, too.

Posture: A proper driving posture (which I described in other posts in the past) will be upright enough to keep the driver alert and comfortable, without fatiguing cramps and aches. Light, unrestricting, casual clothing also helps. Heavy coats are a bad idea.

Nutrition: Proper nutrition is another important factor: A quick, light breakfast, and no heavy meals (particularly with high levles of fat, salt or sugar) when you are supposed to drive. In long journies, a quick snack of 150 calories every hour or so, and a good deal of water or juice will help keep your energy levels up. Let's start from three glasses per hour.

Air Quality: Air conditioning is very important: Keep the car parked away from prolonged and direct sunlight, so that it does not become so very hot when you enter it. If you need to enter a hot car, allow it to cool off by opening the windows and the air conditioning. While driving, a nice temperature should be maintained, but a small crack should be left open in at least one of the front windows to allow some fresh air inside. It's also a good idea to switch the A/C itself to fresh air setting every now and than, for clear air. Avoid getting fumes and dust into your car.

Shade: Shade from glare is important because glare and dazzle cause head-aches and make the eyes twitch to get used to the strong light, which tires out the eye muscles. Good, clean sunglasses are very helpfull and the visor of the car is also effective. Good visibility should be achieved by use of the necessary vision aids, lights and spotless clean windshields and spectacles. Avoid sunglasses that are too dark.

Noise: Reduce turbulance noises around the car while driving: Open windows, roof racks, things rattling about inside the car, passengers that move erratically or noisy children, heavy music, as well as any kind of distraction, are fatiguing.

Driving: Drivers that experience driving stress or road rage are going to be more fatigued. Alert, confident and none-agressive drivers are going to be much more energetic over time. Driving too fast is also fatiguing. It's also worth to mention that new drivers (let's say, under three years of driving experience) are going to find driving more demanding and be more fatigued. Teenagers also need more sleep hours than adults.

It's important to be relaxed while driving, avoid hounching, leaning forward, gripping hard onto the steering wheel, tensing the limbs at the wheel or pedals, "sawing" the steering wheel back and forth or turning it needlessly or excessively - are all fatiguing.


Rests: For most drivers, the best idea is to stop once every hour of driving for a ten minute break. Professional drivers of rigs and buses might have to prolong this to every two and a half hours. Take a bigger break of at least 30 minutes for each five hours of driving, and don't drive more than 11 hours per day, and don't exceed 65 hours per week.

When to stop driving: If sudden fatigue gets to the driver, there is only one solution: Sleep. Pull to the right and slow down and find a SAFE place to stop. An open shoulder along a highway is not a safe place, for example. Sometimes, even a quick "power nap" of a few seconds can help, but idealy you should sleep for about 30-40 minutes. Sleeping for more than that would mean waking up in the middle of a "sleep cycle" and not resolving the problem of fatigue.

Sleeping for 30 minutes, followed by a quick bite of something with carbohydrates and than moving around a bit, is going to give you about an hour of total wakefullness.
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myownworld
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Joined: Jan 06, 2010
Posts: 485

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:57 am Reply with quote Back to top

Welcome to Fun And Safe Driving johnnywayne2. Thank you for joining the forum.

As Astraist has pointed out - among other things - it's a good idea to keep your window slightly open as you drive, to allow fresh air to circulate in, and prevent sleepiness.

Good music is great too, except not too loud so as to distract you away from the traffic!

And yes, a shot of espresso works when all else fails! Wink J/k Taking plenty of rest breaks to refresh yourself works well for me!

Thanks Astraist for explaining it so well... Smile
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Misha
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Joined: Aug 02, 2006
Posts: 704
Location: McLean, VA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:20 am Reply with quote Back to top

Astraist wrote:
If sudden fatigue gets to the driver, there is only one solution: Sleep. Pull to the right and slow down and find a SAFE place to stop. An open shoulder along a highway is not a safe place, for example.
This. I think I tried them all in my life, and sometimes I wonder how I managed to survive. There is no substitute to sleep, really. Just a short 20 minutes nap will get you back on track.

And sorry MOW, espresso is not of much help here. It will get you an initial boost, which will soon fade, and require more, and then more... Finally you will just collapse before you know it - a certain recipe to disaster on any speed above zero...


Last edited by Misha on Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Astraist
Master Driver



Joined: Mar 27, 2010
Posts: 209

PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:28 am Reply with quote Back to top

A cup of coffee, much like energy drinks, foods and drinks with sugar or other complex carbohydrates - give a significant boost of energy that is sufficient for making those last few stretches of road when mild fatigue only starts to kick in. These foods have a high "Glycemic Index" which means that they load your body with glucose (energy) as to give you a sudden boost, but is quickly followed by an increased release of insulin into the blood, followed by a sudden drop in energy levels. Nevertheless, it does give you energy for at least an hour.

True fatigue and sleepiness is only resolved by sleeping. Another problem is that a sleepy person is uncapable of judging just how close they are to fall asleep at the wheel.

Another thing I mistakenly left out was relaxation techniques. These techniques can do no less than wonders to alertness, physical relaxation and reduction of stress while driving, and will reduce health related issues like poor blood circulation, cramps and coagulations. Most of them can be done safely while driving.

Breathing: Foremost is deep breathing. Slowly push the diaphragm to inhale into the nose and down the stomach for a count of four seconds. Hold the air in the stomach for an additional four seconds, and now slowly exhale through the mouth for a count of four seconds. Hold the breath for a count of three-four seconds and repeat. Now, try to combine to mouth near the end of the inhaling so that you inflate both the chest and stomach.

Hands: You can relax the arms by tensing each palm while it's gripping the wheel (one at a time), holding it tense and than allowing it to relax progressively. Repeat.

Forearms: Try to freely wiggle the fingers of each arm (one at a time) to unwind the forearms. Repeat.

Arms: Tense the biceps, hold and progresively relax. Repeat.

shoulders: Move one hand to a slightly higher position on the wheel and back, and than the other hand, to relax some of the muscles in the shoulders. Shrug the shoulders for a few seconds while inhaling progressively and than progressively relax them while exhaling slowly. Repeat.

Now, slowly but positivelly roll both shoulders forward for eight circles. Now do eight circles backwards. Again hounce the shoulders when inhaling, and drop them when exhaling. Now, suplinate your scapulae (shoulder blades) towards the spine and hold for a count of three and than progressivelly let go, and repeat.

Chin: Open the mouth wide a few times and tense the jaw muscles. Now, open the mouth and wiggle the lower jaw from side to side for a few times. Now clench the jaws and than let go and allow them to relax progressively.

Neck: Tense your forehead muscles, hold and than progressively relax them and repeat for a few times. Now, pull the chin inward, tense and release a few times to unwind the neck muscles.

If you are not driving, continue the drill by rolling your shoulders again, houncing them and releasing, and keep the shoulders down and relaxed an drop the head far right to a count of eighteen seconds and than progressively straighten it. Now do the same left, and repeat three times in each direction alternativelly.

Now gently turn your head to look as far right as possible for a count of three, and than progressively back to straight. Repeat to the right for a total of five times and than do five times to the left.

Now drop the head back, tense the throat muscles, hold for three, release and than put the chin down, hold for three and release again. Now roll your head right three times and than left.

Trunk: Shake the trunk gently from side to side by using the muscles in your sides (Lattisimi, external oblique).

Stomach: Tighten the stomach muscles and progressively release and relax them.

Buttocks: Tighten the buttocks as to lift yourselves up in the seat. Hold shortly, release and repeat. Curl the lower back forward, hold briefly, relax and repeat.

Feet: Your left foot, which is supposed to be placed on the footrest and near the floor, should be lifted up towards the underdash over the footrest while it applies pressure against the footrest, so that it almost comes straight. Drop it back to it's position and relax.

Now, put it on the floor of the car and lift the heel up while keeping the toes on the floor. Repeat for a few times. Curl the toes, hold and relax. Repeat. During stops or when using cruise control, try to the same procedure with the right foot.
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ellaboswell
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Joined: Apr 29, 2011
Posts: 44
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:48 am Reply with quote Back to top

Get sufficient sleep beforehand. If you find yourself drowsy while enroute, pull over somewhere and take a nap before you kill someone.
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FRE
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Joined: Oct 05, 2008
Posts: 79
Location: Albuquerque NM

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 3:43 am Reply with quote Back to top

Finding a safe place to stop and nap to avoid falling asleep can be a real problem on some roads. There should be more safe places to stop.

Sometimes getting out of the car and walking around is more effective than taking a nap. That's especially true in hot whether which can make napping impossible.

One reason I ride a motorcycle is that falling asleep while riding a motorcycle is much less likely than falling asleep while driving a car.
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newbielearner
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Joined: Mar 27, 2012
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 5:26 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Astraist wrote:
A cup of coffee, much like energy drinks, foods and drinks with sugar or other complex carbohydrates - give a significant boost of energy that is sufficient for making those last few stretches of road when mild fatigue only starts to kick in. These foods have a high "Glycemic Index" which means that they load your body with glucose (energy) as to give you a sudden boost, but is quickly followed by an increased release of insulin into the blood, followed by a sudden drop in energy levels. Nevertheless, it does give you energy for at least an hour.

True fatigue and sleepiness is only resolved by sleeping. Another problem is that a sleepy person is uncapable of judging just how close they are to fall asleep at the wheel.

Another thing I mistakenly left out was relaxation techniques. These techniques can do no less than wonders to alertness, physical relaxation and reduction of stress while driving, and will reduce health related issues like poor blood circulation, cramps and coagulations. Most of them can be done safely while driving.

Breathing: Foremost is deep breathing. Slowly push the diaphragm to inhale into the nose and down the stomach for a count of four seconds. Hold the air in the stomach for an additional four seconds, and now slowly exhale through the mouth for a count of four seconds. Hold the breath for a count of three-four seconds and repeat. Now, try to combine to mouth near the end of the inhaling so that you inflate both the chest and stomach.

Hands: You can relax the arms by tensing each palm while it's gripping the wheel (one at a time), holding it tense and than allowing it to relax progressively. Repeat.

Forearms: Try to freely wiggle the fingers of each arm (one at a time) to unwind the forearms. Repeat.

Arms: Tense the biceps, hold and progresively relax. Repeat.

shoulders: Move one hand to a slightly higher position on the wheel and back, and than the other hand, to relax some of the muscles in the shoulders. Shrug the shoulders for a few seconds while inhaling progressively and than progressively relax them while exhaling slowly. Repeat.

Now, slowly but positivelly roll both shoulders forward for eight circles. Now do eight circles backwards. Again hounce the shoulders when inhaling, and drop them when exhaling. Now, suplinate your scapulae (shoulder blades) towards the spine and hold for a count of three and than progressivelly let go, and repeat.

Chin: Open the mouth wide a few times and tense the jaw muscles. Now, open the mouth and wiggle the lower jaw from side to side for a few times. Now clench the jaws and than let go and allow them to relax progressively.

Neck: Tense your forehead muscles, hold and than progressively relax them and repeat for a few times. Now, pull the chin inward, tense and release a few times to unwind the neck muscles.

If you are not driving, continue the drill by rolling your shoulders again, houncing them and releasing, and keep the shoulders down and relaxed an drop the head far right to a count of eighteen seconds and than progressively straighten it. Now do the same left, and repeat three times in each direction alternativelly.

Now gently turn your head to look as far right as possible for a count of three, and than progressively back to straight. Repeat to the right for a total of five times and than do five times to the left.

Now drop the head back, tense the throat muscles, hold for three, release and than put the chin down, hold for three and release again. Now roll your head right three times and than left.

Trunk: Shake the trunk gently from side to side by using the muscles in your sides (Lattisimi, external oblique).

Stomach: Tighten the stomach muscles and progressively release and relax them.

Buttocks: Tighten the buttocks as to lift yourselves up in the seat. Hold shortly, release and repeat. Curl the lower back forward, hold briefly, relax and repeat.

Feet: Your left foot, which is supposed to be placed on the footrest and near the floor, should be lifted up towards the underdash over the footrest while it applies pressure against the footrest, so that it almost comes straight. Drop it back to it's position and relax.

Now, put it on the floor of the car and lift the heel up while keeping the toes on the floor. Repeat for a few times. Curl the toes, hold and relax. Repeat. During stops or when using cruise control, try to the same procedure with the right foot.


Just seeing this, wow! Great stuff. I did some motorway driving with an uncle this weekend and I swear I was deadbeat by the end of it. It's so hard to stay awake after a few hours on the road and we were constantly stopping for breaks! This advice should help cause I need to travel soon with my mates for a trip up north. Better not fall asleep then!
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wdauk1234
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Joined: May 17, 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 4:04 am Reply with quote Back to top

LoLzz Y would some one sleep on the road (at a safe spot)... But seriosuly, sleep at home ppl
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myownworld
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Posts: 485

PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 6:11 am Reply with quote Back to top

Welcome to Fun And Safe Driving wdauk1234. Thank you for joining the forums Smile
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charn
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Joined: Apr 03, 2011
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 9:39 am Reply with quote Back to top

I thought of three options:
1. Change life to reduce long drives. Different job, or move closer to job.
2. Backup driver.
3. Remove the air conditioner and always drive with open windows. My truck never had it, so that is some labor saved.

On one long trip I had several bouts of microsleep and driving by braille, which is being woken by the rumble strips on the shoulder. Eventually I found my reserve tank and stayed alert for the rest of the trip, but I was younger then. I probably don't have a reserve now. I was the backup driver on that trip.
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newbielearner
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Joined: Mar 27, 2012
Posts: 65

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 11:45 am Reply with quote Back to top

charn wrote:
I thought of three options:
1. Change life to reduce long drives. Different job, or move closer to job.
2. Backup driver.
3. Remove the air conditioner and always drive with open windows. My truck never had it, so that is some labor saved.

On one long trip I had several bouts of microsleep and driving by braille, which is being woken by the rumble strips on the shoulder. Eventually I found my reserve tank and stayed alert for the rest of the trip, but I was younger then. I probably don't have a reserve now. I was the backup driver on that trip.


Ok change of job would be ideal yeah, but it doesn't really work that way in real life, does it? You gotta make do with what you have, you know.

I like the idea of a backup driver though...hmmm.... now where to get one! I do have a blow up doll, not sure if it'll do here! Wink
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Astraist
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Joined: Mar 27, 2010
Posts: 209

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 1:01 pm Reply with quote Back to top

newbielearner wrote:

I did some motorway driving with an uncle this weekend and I swear I was deadbeat by the end of it. It's so hard to stay awake after a few hours on the road and we were constantly stopping for breaks! This advice should help cause I need to travel soon with my mates for a trip up north. Better not fall asleep then!


Driving is harder and more fatiguing for newer drivers. Limit yourself: Do not drive over ONE hour! It's even a good idea to stop each 45-50 minutes!

Take a long break (about a half hour) and possibly swap drivers if possible, each six hours. You can use this break to take a short nap. Do not drive over eleven hours a day!

The symptoms of fatigue start with frequent yawning, burning eyes and heavy eyelids, and touching your own face and forehead. When you recognise these symptoms - look for a safe place (like a filling station) to pull over into.

Do not wait for serious fatigue to kick in, but do look for a SAFE place to stop, one which is segregated from the carriageway. A nap of 20 to 40 minutes will give you about one full hour of wakefullness. This is a one-time solution before getting a longer rest of at least two hours, and than untill you take at least six hours!
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FRE
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Joined: Oct 05, 2008
Posts: 79
Location: Albuquerque NM

PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 4:08 pm Reply with quote Back to top

It would be nice to have a back-up driver, but unfortunately, it is not always possible.

Some rental car companies charge more if there is more than one driver on the rental agreement. If a rental car is driven by a driver who is not on the rental agreement, there can be legal consequences. Those policies give insufficient consideration for safety.

A person may occasionally have to work an extra shift immediately after completing the first shift then be too tired to drive safely. Under those circumstances, finding a back-up driver generally is not possible. Employers should consider road safety when requiring employees to work an additional shift.

The dangers of driving while sleepy are very real. Even if one doesn't actually fall asleep, the ability to drive safely is impaired. Unfortunately, solutions are not always obvious. This is a subject that should be given more attention.
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newbielearner
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Posts: 65

PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2012 4:36 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Astraist wrote:
newbielearner wrote:

I did some motorway driving with an uncle this weekend and I swear I was deadbeat by the end of it. It's so hard to stay awake after a few hours on the road and we were constantly stopping for breaks! This advice should help cause I need to travel soon with my mates for a trip up north. Better not fall asleep then!


Driving is harder and more fatiguing for newer drivers. Limit yourself: Do not drive over ONE hour! It's even a good idea to stop each 45-50 minutes!

Take a long break (about a half hour) and possibly swap drivers if possible, each six hours. You can use this break to take a short nap. Do not drive over eleven hours a day!

The symptoms of fatigue start with frequent yawning, burning eyes and heavy eyelids, and touching your own face and forehead. When you recognise these symptoms - look for a safe place (like a filling station) to pull over into.

Do not wait for serious fatigue to kick in, but do look for a SAFE place to stop, one which is segregated from the carriageway. A nap of 20 to 40 minutes will give you about one full hour of wakefullness. This is a one-time solution before getting a longer rest of at least two hours, and than untill you take at least six hours!


I did follow your advice mate on my latest trip up north. I was so tired, had a late night before but had to drive up to see my parents for the weekend. Could barely keep my eyes on the road and the coffee shots stopped working after a bit.

So, I actually parked the car at a station and just put my legs up and took a nap. Half hour max, but it worked like magic! Very Happy
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