How to Stay Awake When You’re Stuck on a Freeway for Hours


Every driver has experienced getting stuck on the freeway for hours in traffic. Sometimes, it’s expected. For example, peak traffic hours take place twice a day, and it’s not possible to avoid them. Other times, it’s unexpected. Road construction hits a snag and stops traffic in its tracks.

Sometimes a long trip means that you’ll find yourself on the highway for several hours. Whether you’re driving 100 miles or 1,000, driving can make you drowsy. Therefore, incorporating strategies that will help keep you alert is part of practicing responsible driving.

Why Driving Makes Drivers Drowsy

On a long drive, it’s possible to experience several traffic conditions. If you come across commuter traffic, expect the traffic to follow stop-and-go patterns. Other times it will flow but in congested states.

When accidents cause traffic jams, drivers can only adapt to the situation. Some accidents will close all lanes, especially on two-lane highways. The wait can cause frustration, tiredness, and road rage.

In free-flowing traffic, the environment creates a lulling effect that makes drivers drowsy, an equally dangerous situation.

Let’s look at ways that you can stay awake when you’re stuck on a freeway for hours.

How To Stay Awake

A good portion of staying awake during a drive comes from preparing beforehand. For example, avoid drinking, sleep enough, and take breaks as needed.

Avoid Drinking

Alcohol is a downer. Coupled with the lulling effects of the road, it’s a recipe for disaster. Keep in mind that drivers should avoid consuming uppers before driving, too, including smoking.

Each drug, smoke, and drink impairs drivers in different ways. Risking your safety and the safety of others has severe consequences. Getting from one end of your trip to the other safely requires a clear mind. Thus, avoid drinking before driving.

If an accident does occur on the freeway, you can contact the legal professionals at JT Legal Group for advice.

Take Breaks

Some believe that drivers should take a break once every two hours. Breaks are opportunities to stretch the limbs, go to the bathroom, and eat. These are also activities that help wake up the body and mind.

Avoid Driving Alone

Passengers tend to cause the bulk of vehicle accidents. However, they also make great company. On long trips, bring trusted family members and friends to keep you company.

It’s OK to make small talk but avoid heated conversations. Passengers can help you navigate and drive so you can keep your eyes on the road. Moreover, they’ll help you remain alert.

Listen to Music

Listening to music while driving helps keep drivers awake on long trips. However, studies show that drivers will turn down the volume when they need to concentrate. Therefore, keep the volume at a reasonable level.

Music can prevent you from feeling drowsy so pick something fun to listen to or put together playlists before hitting the road.

Make the trip productive by downloading episodes of your favorite podcast before leaving. Then, you can listen to something that captures your attention. Downloading ebooks is another option that will help keep you alert.

Mind Your Medications

As more people receive medication subscriptions from their doctors, the warning labels become more poignant. Driving under the influence of medications will receive a citation from the authorities.

Medications that cause drowsiness include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Antidepressants

Before driving, understand the effects of your medications. If they hinder you too much, speak with your doctor about the dosage.

Sleep Enough Daily

Adults must sleep between seven to nine hours daily. Even if you’ll head out on a long driving trip, find time to sleep.

Drowsy driving has disastrous effects on the driver and others. Since everyone must share the road, drivers, pedestrians, and motorcyclists must mind each other.

After resting, you’ll handle traffic, rude drivers, and road challenges better.

Plan Your Route

Heading out on the road on a whim is fun. As you pack your things, take a few minutes to plan your route.

As you plate the route, you can map out the best freeways to take. Plus, you can factor in breaks and places where you can spend the night’s sleep.

Traffic will make the trip longer. It also stretches out the time you spend on the freeways. To minimize it, use a map app to see traffic patterns and road construction sites. Then, you can optimize your time.


Driving is an enjoyable activity. To remain safe on long trips, incorporate strategies that keep you awake on the freeway. Download podcasts and ebooks and play them while you drive. You can also bring companions that can help you navigate and make small talk.

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