More often than usual we seem to find news reports on trucks getting into late-night accidents. Everyone is guilty of driving for long hours and becoming more tired than they should be, but when you have deadlines to meet driving through the night is sometimes a necessity. In order to keep yourself, and other drivers, safe and to meet your deadlines in a timely manner, here are some tips to make sure you’re alert and ready to take on the night.
Take short naps
Pulling all-nighters doesn’t work out for college kids, and it certainly won’t work for drivers. This is actually the worst thing you can do for your body! Napping during the day is one way to prepare yourself for a long night ahead of you, but if this isn’t possible, short naps are the best way to go. Many scientist say that short 20 or 30 minute naps are the most effective way to wake your brain back up and stay alert for many more hours. If you usually feel tired after your nap, drink 6oz of coffee right before you want to fall asleep, then by the time you wake up the caffeine has kicked in and you’re ready to take on the drive.
Utilize caffeine in a smart way
A common mistake is to drink a lot of coffee or an energy drink at once at the beginning of a haul. Instead, continually drinking small amounts of caffeine is much more effective to keeping yourself alert. By doing this, you are constantly feeding your body small doses of energy, and not giving your body the ability to let to the caffeine wear off.
Fun Fact: Caffeine doesn’t actually give you energy, if anything, it’s a sneaky energy imposter.
The part of your brain that “collects” adenosine (ah-den-uh-zeen), which gradually makes you tired throughout the day, instead collects the caffeine molecules instead. These caffeine molecules are the same shape and size as adenosine, so it blocks that from getting collected. Your “energy” comes from neurotransmitters, like dopamine getting a head start all thanks to caffeine. Your dopamine levels get a lot higher, which gives you a jolt of energy.
Caffeine is kind of like club security; it guards the door, keeping the sleepy (adenosine) molecules out while the more stimulating molecules (dopamine) party on.
Keep Yourself Busy
Driving itself should keep you busy, but sometime hauling for hours on end can become mindless and become really boring. Some recommendations to keep busy without becoming distracted is to make a new music playlist that you haven’t listened to before, find a thrilling audiobook or podcast, or try to brainstorm some fun activities you can do when you get a break either at your next stop or once you get to return home.
Driving at night will always be more challenging, but try to play it safe and use these tips to get where you’re going in the most effective way.