Driving can be a stressful activity at the best of times. It becomes positively life-threatening when it is dark, and you just can't keep your eyes open!
First things first―when you are planning to drive long distances, make sure that you sleep for at least eight to nine hours the previous night. Take a nap of 1.5-2 hours during the drive to re-energize yourself.
Eat Less before Driving
Before going on the long drive, make sure that you take a light meal. The more you eat, the more you tend to feel sleepy. So, avoid overeating, and avoid carbohydrates, as they too make a person feel sleepy after the initial sugar rush.
Change your position by adjusting your seat a bit. If you keep sitting in the same position you are comfortable in, you might start feeling sleepy after a while.
Keep on sipping water during the journey. One caution though―see to it that the road you are taking has enough rest rooms!
Keep some light snacks with you to munch on. Sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, and other low-carb, high-protein stuff will help you in staying awake while driving.
Having company always helps. Firstly, if the other person knows to drive, you can periodically switch. Secondly, striking up a conversation engages the brain, and helps you stay awake.
Listen to Music
Listening to songs of your favorite singer and singing along is another trick for staying awake. Blasting the music is a distraction which will certainly not let you fall asleep. Listening to audio books is also a viable option, but opt for something light or engaging; murder mysteries are the ideal solution, philosophical musings aren't.
Keep the Windows Open
Open the windows for a while every now and then. The strong, cool wind against your face will help you in keeping alert and awake during the drive.
Splash Cold Water on Face
This one is a sure-shot winner amongst all the ways to stay awake. Splash cold water on your face whenever you feel sleepy. It will keep you up and alert!
When you stop at a gas station, undertake a quick, on-the-spot jog, or drop down and do a few pushups. Exercise will boost your blood circulation.
If you feel drowsy, you find yourself yawning, your eyes feel strained, you are unable to focus, or your speed keeps dropping whenever you take your eyes off the speedometer, immediately take a break! This will avoid any kind of mishaps while driving.