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Why Does the Car Make Me Sleepy?

Why Does the Car Make Me Sleepy?
Photo by Sinitta Leunen from Pexels

Whenever you are on a long road trip, you might have noticed feeling sleepy after an hour or two in the car. There could be several reasons for this: a long ride, early ride, or a lack of caffeine. However, research shows the car’s vibration as it moves on a highway can make both driver and passenger sleepy within 15 minutes or so. It might result in a problem for getting to your destination on time.

According to the UK’s Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents, fatigue contributes to road accidents by 20%. Nodding off in a car can happen to anyone, even if they are healthy and rested. Meanwhile, lots of us are prone to this effect, and we clearly don’t understand the cause. 

Some people can handle the tiredness and keep up longer on the road, while others are born to fall asleep within a couple of minutes when the constant vibration of the motor kicks in. The vibration of the vehicle can happen in several ways, like an engine issue, wobbly tires, and uneven driveshaft. These problems are usually seen in old cars.

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We can quote several reasons for the sake of feeling drowsy down the road.  

  • A continuous noise of a car hitting the road makes us sleepy
  • Smooth vibration of the car making us heavy-eyed
  • Sitting long hours with a car air conditioner makes one tired and sleepy

There have been few other small studies to test the idea. In 2015, nineteen participants were asked to drive on a simulated car that drives quiet and loud. Those who were driving on a loud road showed signs of fatigue, while others were relaxed and rested on the driver’s seat.

On the contrary, people who were driving in loud noise hardly believed the noise was a prime factor to cause them sleepiness. The research went further as researchers thought the vibration of the car might be the viable reason. 

In 2018, researchers brought another fifteen participants and asked them to drive in vibrating and non-vibrating motor simulation. The participants were asked to drive at various speeds while the simulator vibrated a few times or was still.

Researchers measured the level of drowsiness while monitoring the heart rate. The conclusion from the research was interesting as it clearly advanced that people who sat on the simulator were rigged up to the vibrating driver’s seat.

Researchers believe the car’s continuous vibration activates the parasympathetic nervous system that causes the body to slow and relax. 

How to avoid sleepiness while driving a car

Drowsy driving seems natural to those who drive frequently. There are ways you can avoid sleepiness, read out the following.

Get enough nap

Enough sleep beforehand going on a long drive keeps you concentrated. If possible, get 15 to 30 minutes of rest before you drive. Research shows a quick nap refreshes your eyes and alerts your mental state while driving.

Drive with friends or family

Whenever you feel tired driving long hours, you can ask your partner beside you to drive the car. Then, you can take a power nap for a couple of minutes and get back to driving. Surely the one driving beside you should know to drive. 

If you are driving alone, you will eventually cross the lane because you have nothing to do besides driving. If you have someone sitting in the driving seat, you can talk with them; that’s what will keep you awake. 

Put on some music

Everyone is aware of kicking a few tracks while they drive. The rhythmic tune and voice activate your brain and keep you up for longer. Music that is high in bass mixed with ambient and piano is what we would like to suggest as it triggers brainpower.

Drink some caffeine

Paper coffee cup
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

You might have previously tried having caffeine to stay awake the whole night to study for your final examination. It’s a legal way to stimulate your body to prevent you from feeling drowsy. Research shows people who drink coffee too much reduce the effect of falling asleep faster.

You will be steering further miles and avoiding accidents and crashes on a long trip.

Maybe cars in the future will have some extra shock absorption to minimize the quivering of the car so people won’t feel sleepy. But until then, you know the reason and comprehensive tips to avoid sleepiness down the road. 

Featured Photo by Sinitta Leunen from Pexels