How to Stay Awake and Alert on Long Road Trips

I am a sleepy person. I can fall asleep any time, anywhere (except, ironically, at bedtime, but that’s a story for another day). In college, I once took a four hour nap on my backpack in the library. True story. My husband knows that as soon as I get in the car, I doze off. That’s just fine and dandy when he’s driving, but when I’m driving, it creates a real problem!!

Luckily, I’ve learned some tricks to help me stay awake and alert while driving. Are you a snoozer like me? Here are some tips that might help you out:

1. Listen to books on tape, especially suspenseful books. Once you get sucked into a good story line, you won’t get sleepy! My local library has a great selection of e-books I can download for free. I make sure all the tech stuff is set up properly before I start driving so that I’m not fumbling around trying to get things to work.

2. Have something cold to sip on. Bonus if it contains caffeine. I like to have a drink with a screw-on lid because then I have to focus on getting the lid on and off without spilling and that really helps keep my mind sharp. As an added bonus, if you chug a Pepsi, you’ll have a full bladder that will really keep you awake!

3. Snacks! My favorite way to stay alert! A couple of days before I’m leaving to go somewhere, I stop at Albertsons and load up on all my favorite road trip snacks.

Starbursts because you have to unwrap each one, so they take a long time to eat and give your hands something to do.

Peanut M&M’s because chocolate is the best and crunching on those yummy peanuts just keeps you going.

Doritos because if their zippy flavor isn’t enough to keep you awake, then the smell of your breath will be. Ha ha!

Altoids because they give you a minty little zing, plus hello, you’ll need them after the Doritos. They are located on the candy shelves at check out.

Grapes because after eating a bunch of snack foods, sometimes you just need something fresh and light. Don’t forget to wash them before you leave.

I like to keep my snacks in a low-walled box on the passengers seat so that everything is within reach and nothing goes flying around or falling off onto the floor. I also suggest opening all the packages before you begin driving. This helps you keep your eyes on the road instead of on that M&M that just went rolling away.

4. Sing along to the radio. Loudly and sometimes off-key. Also car dance. My second favorite stay-awake method next to snacking.

What are your favorite ways to stay awake and alert on a long trip? Share your ideas because I can use all the help I can get.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here