Tips to help stay awake during a long drive.

Trying to stay awake and fully alert on a long drive can sometimes be a challenge, especially at the start or the end of a holiday. The tips below should help you stay awake and be more alert when driving a long distance.

  1. Make sure you are feeling refreshed and rested before starting the journey.
  2. Avoid driving after a full day of work and activities.
  3. Plan your journey to include regular rest breaks, at least 15 minutes every 2 hours. Include an overnight stop if necessary.
  4. Check any medication you are taking, don’t drive if it states you shouldn’t drive or operate machinery.
  5. Avoid driving between midnight and 6am and be extra careful between 4pm and 6pm.
  6. If you start to feel tired, stop where it is safe, have a non-alcoholic drink and take a short nap.
  7. Make sure it isn’t too warm by adjusting the car temperature appropriately.
  8. Don’t use cruise control.
  9. Don’t consume any alcohol before driving as just one drink can impair your ability to drive safely.
  10. If you feel you need caffeine to stay awake you may be too tired to drive; postpone your journey and have a good night’s sleep.
Warning signs that you may be in danger of falling asleep at the wheel
  • Your eyelids are feeling heavy.
  • You are starting to feel drowsy.
  • Your eyes are closing or going in and out of focus; maybe they are feeling strained or you feel a burning sensation.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Thoughts are disconnected, having trouble concentrating.
  • Having trouble keeping your head upright.
  • You are yawning a lot.
  • You don’t remember the last few miles you drove.
  • You miss traffic signals and turnings.
  • You keep jerking your car between lanes.
  • You have problems maintaining a consistent speed.
  • You drift off the road and narrowly miss crashing.

If you find yourself experiencing any of the above, you may be struggling to stay awake and be in danger of falling asleep at the wheel. Pull off the road at the earliest opportunity where it is safe to do so. Park somewhere safe and take a 20-minute nap, followed by a brisk walk.

Only start driving again when you feel refreshed.

AA Tips for Motorway Driving