How To Survive Long-Distance Road Tripping – Driving & Staying Awake

You’re doing a cross-country road trip. One of the most difficult things as a veteran cross-country road tripper is staying awake and safe on the road. We’ve covered safety basics, rules and common sense in previous posts. Now it’s time to stay awake.

This is a complete how-to on long-distance road tripping. Check out the following topics on how to better prepare yourself for the road ahead.

Obviously, I am not condoning drowsy driving by any means. If you’re tired and keep your eyes open no matter what you do, by all means just pull the hell over and take a 30-minute nap. When it comes down to it, everybody (myself included) would prefer you to pull over on the hard shoulder and take a quick nap rather than to fall asleep at the wheel and potentially hurting yourself and/or others.

This is a pretty serious topic. Serious enough that UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation) created these signs along remote stretches of their Interstates.

Here are my tips on keeping drowsy eyes at bay.

Don’t Get Comfortable

One of the easiest and simplest ways to stay awake is to not get comfortable. Move your seat more upright, open a window. Make it a few degrees colder than freezing by turning on your AC to the max. Making your body uncomfortable is an effective way to keep sleepiness at bay until you’re able to find a safe spot to park and take a nap.

Energy Drinks

Now this method isn’t particularly helpful at allowing you to fall asleep, it is another effective way to keep awake on those long stretches of road. Rockstar, Red Bull, Monster, 5 Hour Energy are all good items to keep with you in a time of need. Just keep in mind that once you drink these, you will be up for at least another few hours. It’ll feel like your body has shut down and you’re ready to sleep, but once you’ve parked, you’ll find that falling asleep is much harder now than you think. You’ll end up relaxing and your eyes pop back open. Your mind starts to think about all the random and useless shit during your journey.

Don’t use this method unless absolutely necessary. I value my sleep, you should too.

Pull Over For A Stretch/Walk

This is an absolutely effective way on keeping your body awake and alert. Though these types of places, especially in remote areas are few and far between are especially helpful. Hell, even find a gas station and top up on snacks, fuel, etc… get your stretch and walk in. Trust me. This helps.

Better yet; if you’re able to come across a National Park, TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY. On my way back home from California, I stopped at the Petrified Forest & Painted Desert National Park in Arizona. It kept me awake and alert, I got to experience and see some absolutely fantastic and beautiful things and awesome photo opportunities for a memory well-preserved.

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