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Is caffeine really enough to keep a driver awake?

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

If you are driving and start to feel drowsy, the priority is to pull over and get some rest before you continue on. If you don’t do this, you could nod off and end up causing a serious collision.

For some drivers, being behind the wheel for many hours is normal. For instance, truck drivers may work for 10 or 11 hours a day, and they could feel drowsy depending on the scenery, how much sleep they got, their health and other factors.

Anyone who feels tired might automatically consider buying some coffee or a caffeinated beverage, but is it enough to prevent tiredness and collisions?

Caffeine is used to counteract sleepiness

Caffeine is often used to counteract sleepiness, but habitual use of caffeine can actually make things worse. While research has shown a positive impact on crash risk when truck drivers use caffeine, it has also shown that drinking caffeine can impair a good night’s sleep, which may increase the risk of a collision.

People who drink high amounts of caffeine tend to have poorer health. Due to all the factors involved, drinking caffeine doesn’t reduce crash risk overall. It can, however, reduce the risk of a crash in some circumstances.

For example, if a driver is tired and will arrive at their destination within an hour or two, stopping for a quick nap and cup of coffee may be enough to awaken them and allow them to drive safely to their final stopping point. Even just the cup of coffee could be enough if they drink it soon enough after realizing they’re starting to feel drowsy. Remember, caffeine does take around 45 minutes to start working in the body.

What should you do if you see a drowsy driver on the roads?

If you notice a truck that is weaving or not moving normally, call 911 or the Indiana State Highway Patrol to let them know that there is a dangerous driver. Stopping the vehicle soon enough may help prevent collisions. You should also honk at the vehicle and do your best to avoid being in its pathway.

If you do end up in a truck crash, then the driver could be held liable for any injuries that resulted from their behaviors.


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