Things We Tell Ourselves When We are Driving Tired that Aren’t True

Many people think that driving tired is just a part of life. Whether it’s driving early in the morning to get to work or driving through the night during a long road trip, drivers will brush off the effects of driving tired as a necessary evil; a means to get where they need to go. In reality tired driving can be extremely dangerous. In fact according to infrastructure.gov, 30% of fatal crashes are caused by tired driving and nearly 15% of serious injuries – injuries that require hospital visits – are also caused by tired driving. The site also claims that driver fatigue can be just as dangerous as drunk driving or excessive speeding. Yet, more often than not, drivers will convince themselves that driving tired is not dangerous. If you are driving tired and you tell yourself one of the three things listed below then you may need to pull over and take a nap:

Coffee will keep me Awake
Coffee’s active ingredient caffeine will keep you awake, for a short time. But the fact remains that once the effects of the caffeine wear off you will be left more tired than before you had a cup of coffee. The same can be said about all caffeinated beverages. At first – usually 30 minutes after drinking it – a caffeinated beverage will give you a jolt of energy. But eventually your alertness will wear off and you will be even more tired than before. It is also important to note that according to WebMD, drinking coffee while you are driving tired will have little effect on regular coffee drinkers.

The fact of the matter is that caffeine is not effective enough to keep you awake long enough if you are driving tired. According to My Sleep Apnea, you can still lapse into mini sleeps – around 4 or 5 seconds – if you are seriously sleep deprived while driving even if you drink coffee. If you are driving tired and you believe that consuming coffee, or any caffeinated drink, will wake you up long enough to drive safely, you should pull over and take a nap.

Rolling down the Window or Turning on the AC will keep me Awake
Many people believe that rolling down a window or turning on cold air conditioning will wake them up if they are tired while driving. This is also not true. In fact, decreasing the temperature in your car is likely to make you sleepier. According to My Health Today, you sleep better when you are in a cool environment.

Changing the temperature in your car, either hotter or colder, will not help you stay awake if you are driving tired. If you’re tired enough your body will begin to fall asleep, no matter how cold you make your surroundings.

Loud Music will keep me Awake
Another common myth for tired drivers is that loud music will keep you awake while driving. Much like a blasting cold air through your air conditioning or a drinking a strong cup of coffee, listening to loud music will provide your system a jolt. But much like all other tired driving remedies this solution only works temporarily. If you find yourself reaching for the volume knob to keep you awake then it is time to pull over.

There is little you can do to keep yourself awake if you are driving tired. The fact remains that if you are tired enough your body will get the sleep it needs, no matter what. If you try drinking coffee, blasting cold air through the air conditioning or playing loud music then you are driving tired, then you could be a danger to yourself and others on the road. If this happens to you, pull over and take a short nap. That is the most effective temporary measure to ward off fatigue while driving, but again it is only temporary. The best way to keep from driving tired is to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night.