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How to Keep Your Mind Alert During Long Road Trips

Samuel drives his son from Seattle to Sacramento frequently to attend martial arts competitions. The trip takes about 12 hours on a good day, but it has been as long as 17 hours with traffic and road construction.

Sam’s son stays occupied in the backseat with his phone, a tablet, and a few books. Those luxuries aren’t available to the driver.

That’s why he uses these strategies to stay awake behind the wheel.

1. Don’t Drink and Drive

Anything with sugar or alcohol in it becomes problematic when you’re on a long road trip. It’s illegal to drive under alcohol’s influence anyway, but that doesn’t stop some people. If he needs a soda, Sam always sticks to something diet. He also avoids fruit juice.

2. Get Some Caffeine

Sam uses energy drinks instead of coffee to stay alert while driving through the mountains between Oregon and California. He does that because it upsets his stomach less. If you’re feeling tired, try to have two servings of something that your stomach will tolerate.

Products from brands like Perque and Thorne Research are also helpful. 

3. Mind the Posture

It is easy to start slouching when the highway is long, straight, and empty. Those moments are when you must consciously hold your head up and avoid slouching. If your back starts hurting, it’s a sign that fatigue is sure to follow.

4. Find the Rest Areas

Sam likes to gauge his time and progress by measuring the distance between rest areas. He tries to stop at the same places each time, breaking the trip into two or three hours per segment to create opportunities for stretching and walking around.  

Sleep is important. If you don’t get about eight hours of rest the night before you’re driving all day, it can be hard to feel fresh and alert.