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Can drivers rely on caffeine to stay awake on long trips?

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2023 | Car Accidents |

You know that drowsy driving is dangerous, and you don’t want to end up in a wreck. Like millions of other people, you reach for a quick caffeine fix so that you can stay alert while you finish your trip.

Is that really safe? Maybe not. Studies have shown that caffeine is an effective stimulant that can help drivers stay steady during a trip – for a while. However, studies also indicate that caffeine has some significant drawbacks. Here’s what to keep in mind:

For a quick fix, caffeine can be helpful

Whether you grab a Coke, a cup of coffee or resort to high-powered (and highly caffeinated) energy shots, caffeine can help a lot of people stay alert and focused. If you’re feeling fatigued with only an hour or two to go until you can rest, caffeine can probably help you pull through.

The backlash or “crash” can be terrible

While caffeine kicks in pretty quickly for most people, it can cut out again very abruptly. A few hours after ingesting the substance, a lot of people experience a “caffeine crash” that can leave them suddenly very fatigued and unable to concentrate – and that can easily lead to a wreck.

The physical effects can also be a problem

Caffeine is also a diuretic, which means that it can cause dehydration. Too much caffeine can then lead to headaches, dizziness and reduced cognitive function. Again, these are issues that can leave a driver too impaired to react quickly to changing road conditions or problems with traffic, putting everybody at risk.

Smart drivers know when it’s time to pull over and get some rest before going any further. If you end up in a wreck with a driver who made other choices, find out more about your legal options.