When drivers hit the road while tired, many of them often have a misdirected sense of safety and confidence in their ability to drive even in this state.
For some, this confidence comes from “wakefulness tips” that they may have learned over the years. But just how useful are these tips in the heat of the moment?
What are wakefulness tips?
The NHTSA discusses how wakefulness tips work. These tips often get passed on by word of mouth, usually from one driver claiming that it works wonders for them and telling other people to do the same if they feel tired.
Wakefulness tips tend to have a basis in reality and true facts. For example, some tips involve turning up the air conditioning or rolling down the windows so the temperature in the car begins to drop. This seems based on the fact that people tend to feel sleepier in warm temperatures and that cold air tends to make someone feel more awake.
Likewise, some people will suggest the introduction of noise. Again, this can include rolling down the windows, turning up loud and energetic music, or even engaging in conversations with passengers or calling people on a hands-free phone. This is based on the idea that it is harder to sleep with noise than it is in silence.
Why don’t they work?
However, the conversation can actually cause driver distraction, which can lead to further risk of crashes. Second of all, none of these tricks actually work in the long term.
Though it is possible for a driver to feel momentarily more awake due to a wakefulness tip, this will not last forever. Exhaustion is only fixed by sleeping, and a driver who does not rest will eventually succumb to the need to sleep if they do not reach their destination in time.