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Falling Asleep Driving

 

Congratulations college student, you made it to Christmas break!

 

Finals have just ended and all of your dirty laundry and bedding is packed up, ready for your mom to wash when you get home for the holidays. You pulled three all-nighters this week and the last thing on your mind is how many hours of sleep you will get in before the long drive back to your hometown.

Slow your roll for just a second!

Falling asleep behind the wheel is a serious issue that causes about 72,000 car accidents each year, per the National Sleep Foundation.

Here are a few tips to help you stay awake on your way home for the holidays:

Hit the road when you feel most alert

According to the National Sleep Foundation, accidents are more likely to occur in the morning, mid-afternoon and late at night. If at all possible, try to avoid these times when making your way home. It might not seem realistic, but driving when the sun isn’t blinding you or when you should be in bed sleeping is the best way to avoid falling asleep at the wheel.

Double check with your doctor if you have a sleep disorder

There are countless people who suffer from treatable sleep disorders every single year. If you think you are experiencing narcolepsy, insomnia, restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea, check with your doctor before you hit the road. Getting the proper treatment can not only improve your overall quality of life, but also prevent you from dozing off at the wrong times.

Crank the music, roll down the windows and drink plenty of coffee.

If you feel yourself getting a little drowsy, don’t be afraid to get creative in order to stay awake. Among the top ways to stay awake (aside from getting plenty of sleep the night before traveling) are cranking up a sing-a-long, rolling down your windows for fresh air and grabbing some caffeine.

Pull over at a rest stop for a quick nap

When all else fails and you absolutely cannot keep your eyes open any longer, DO NOT CONTINUE TO DRIVE. Find a nearby gas station or rest stop, park off to the side and take a 20-30 minute cat nap. I tried this the morning after a Beyoncé concert on my way back home and a quick nap is the perfect refresher to keep you awake the rest of the drive. 

Kelsey Mattingly