Best Drinks Keep You Awake While Driving
Best drinks to Stay Awake When Driving

The monotony of long road trips can easily cause drowsiness. It’s the hum of the road that can put you to sleep. For safety reasons it’s imperative to stay awake at the wheel.

The following are the most effective drinks to help fight drowsiness when driving long distances. This is the real experience of professional drivers, combined with the results of medical research and advice from doctors.

#1 Best Drink to Stay Awake While Driving: Coffee with Caffeine

Research says that "To evade drowsiness while driving, many individuals will drink coffee with caffeine". In fact, does caffeine really help individuals stay awake when they are feeling tired behind the wheel?

What is caffeine?

Caffeine triggers your brain and central nervous system, which keeps you awake.

Caffeine is an ingredient that’s found in coffee beans and tea leaves. It works by stimulating your central nervous system and brain, inhibiting adenosine, a type of sleep-regulating receptor, from functioning.

Plus, it can increase your alertness and keep you awake for long periods of time. So, going for some caffeine is a plus when you need a boost, be it to combat that afternoon slump, or while you’re driving.

One of the many ways to stay awake while you’re on the road is to have a caffeinated beverage like an energy drink.

Of course, the amount of caffeine you’ll need to keep you awake while you’re driving ultimately comes down to how fast or slow your body metabolizes the caffeine.

That said, even if your caffeine tolerance is quite high, it doesn’t give you a free pass to have as much caffeine as you like.

Can Caffeine Keep You Awake?

Drinking a cup of coffee will help you stay awake while driving in a few ways.

The first benefit is that coffee is a short-term diuretic. The coffee does have the ability to keep drivers awake when they are drowsy. In a test where sleep-deprived individuals were given caffeine, a placebo or a nap, the ones who drank caffeine did the best in a subsequent driving test.

In a study conducted by the Australian Department of Defense, a team of psychological scientists found that moderate doses of caffeine significantly improved driving performance in sleep-deprived individuals – even after 40 straight hours of wakefulness.

Participants in the study were kept awake for 50 hours while they completed a series of test drives using a driving simulator. Half of the participants were given caffeine at regular intervals, while the other half were given a placebo.

Every three hours throughout the experiment, participants completed an easy 40-minute driving scenario. Each of the 15 identical scenarios involved driving along a rural highway at 80 km/h, with no other cars, obstacles, or intersections. Driving performance was assessed by staying in the correct lane, speed, and crashes. If the driver “crashed” during the drive, the car was reset to the middle of the road. After staying awake for 50 solid hours, participants were provided with a 9-hour recovery sleep before leaving the lab.

As expected, after 48 hours without sleep, driving performance began to decline for all participants. But drivers in the placebo group began to show the dangerous signs of drowsy driving far earlier than individuals who had consumed caffeine.

In the caffeine group, speed variability, lane deviations, and catastrophic lane deviations were all significantly lower than in the placebo group at any time after 19 hours of wakefulness. Drivers in the placebo group started to get into crashes after 22 hours, while those in the caffeine group didn’t have a single crash until the 40th hour of the experiment.

Read More: Does Coffee Really Dehydrate You And How to Manage?


*The FDA has stated that a daily caffeine intake of up to 400mg for healthy adults is safe. Any more than that, and you might end up with adverse effects such as: Rapid Heartbeat, Dizziness, Headaches, Restlessness/Jitteriness, Dehydration.

Therefore, make sure to moderate your daily caffeine intake to prevent yourself from going over the limit.

*If you plan to drive for a long period of time (over four hours) you will need to periodically drink more coffee during the entire trip. If you fail to do so, the fatigue will come back with a vengeance. Because of this fact, experts suggest you DO NOT DRINK COFFEE during trips over four hours.

Best Drinks Keep You Awake While Driving, According to Professional Drivers
Can a Caffeine Buzz Improve Driving Safety?
Coffee is a stimulant that improves alertness. Grab a cuop of coffee before your trip if you think you’ll need one, or pull over and get one if you’re feeling tired. Be careful with the caffeine though – you can overdo it.

Related: Best Car-Driving TIPS for BEGINNERS

Use anti-drowsy medication?

There are several medications available to prevent drowsiness while driving. These drugs contain Modafinil as the main ingredient. This is an active ingredient that enhances the ability to transmit information to stimulate the brain and increase concentration.

Using an anti-drowsy drug while driving is often quite effective. However, this is not recommended and should only be used in "emergency" cases. Before using anti-drowsy medication, consult your doctor.

#2 Top Best Energy Drinks (Sugar and Caffeine) To Keep You Awake While Driving

Best Drinks Keep You Awake While Driving, According to Professional Drivers
Best Energy Drinks to Stay Awake When Driving

As a driver, it’s your responsibility to be alert with your surroundings and to have a laser focus on the road. With this, you have to be wide awake whenever you are behind the wheel. Fortunately, when it comes to driving, you’re usually not alone on the road. You may have your passengers and/or other drivers.

However, if you ever find yourself groggy, you might need something that can give you a little boost of energy and alertness. This is where energy drinks can come in handy, giving you the energy and focus you need..

Can Energy Drinks Keep You Awake?

Energy drinks help you stay awake while driving due to their caffeine and sugar content. They give you the necessary boost to fuel your body with energy. The energy drinks are best served cold. According to a study, cold stimuli make you feel more awake and alert. The cold sensation paired with caffeine and sugar is a sure way to make you feel more attentive and focused.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant that works its effects on the brain and nervous system. Besides the caffeine content, sugar is another key ingredient in some energy drinks, which gives you the energy you need.

When sugar enters the system, your body will respond by making insulin, which would increase your blood flow and make your blood thicker. This is what people would call a sugar rush.

What Energy Drinks Keep You Awake While Driving?

We’ve curated a list below of the best energy drinks that will keep you alert throughout your travel.

Red Bull

Red Bull is the highest-selling energy drink in the market. Red Bull was the first-ever beverage that advertised itself as an energy drink and was made by Dietrich Mateschitz in 1987 in Austria.


Made by Hansen Natural Company, Monster Energy Drink is one of the best-selling energy drinks in the world. In a 16 fl. oz. can of Monster, 160mg of caffeine is contained, which is a moderate amount. They offer a wide range of products: low carb, sugar-free, and their own 300mg caffeine energy drink.


Reign Total Body Fuel is a moderately new product in the energy drink market released by the Monster Beverage Corporation.

It has 300mg of caffeine inside one can, which is a high dosage of caffeine. This gives it a place in the ranks with the other strong energy drinks. It advertises itself as sugar-free and has no artificial flavorings and colors. The drink also contains electrolytes, which retain and balance the water content inside your body and keep you hydrated.

C4 Energy Drink

Introduced to the market by Cellucor in 2006, C4 energy drink has been researched and refined for years. The energy drink has a caffeine content of 135mg. They also come in sugar-free options if you don’t want to experience a sugar crash while driving. It has an average amount of caffeine, so it’s a great choice if you want caffeine content that’s somewhere in the middle.


Originally from the UK, Lucozade Energy Drink has a caffeine count of 46mg within a 380ml bottle. You have two options when it comes to bottle size: 380ml and 500ml. Lucozade is a great choice for you if you have a low tolerance for caffeine. They also offer a sugar-free option for some of their drinks, so that’s a plus if you’re looking for something healthier.


Rockstar has been one of the leading brands in the energy drink industry for as long as anyone can remember. The energy drink has around 160mg of caffeine and has 250 calories inside one 16 fl.oz can. In terms of caffeine content, it is on the middle ground. Not too high to be cautious and not too low if you’d like a big boost.


Aspire is a great-tasting energy drink that’s a good choice if you are driving. In terms of nutrition, Aspire has multivitamins (C & B-Complex) and claims to be vegan-friendly, non-GMO, and gluten-free. They boast their energy drinks as having no calories, sugar.

A 12 fl.oz can of Aspire contains 80mg of caffeine, which is on the lower end of the caffeine spectrum, being perfect for you if you have a low tolerance to caffeine. Aspire Energy Drink can be found in your local convenience stores, big-box supermarkets, and various online stores.


Previously known as Elements Energy, Venom Energy Drink contains 162mg of caffeine in one 16 fl.oz can They also offer a low-calorie version of their energy drink, which you may like if you are calorie-conscious.

Hour Energy

A tiny bottle of 1.93 fl.oz, 5-Hour Energy Drink has a whopping 200mg of caffeine, which is a high amount of caffeine, considering its size. The energy drink claims to be sugar-free, zero net carbs and only has a calorie count of 4.

This drink is incredibly hardcore, so we would only recommend it if you have a strong tolerance for caffeine and if you are going on a long drive. So only drink this if you know you can handle the caffeine content. Otherwise, stick to the other ones with lesser caffeine content.


Bang Energy Drink is the third highest-selling energy drink. It also has one of the highest caffeine content on this list, having a heavy dosage of 300mg. So only drink this if you have a high tolerance for caffeine. While Bang is sugar-free, I wouldn’t recommend the classic series to you if you have a low tolerance for caffeine.


With only 50mg of caffeine, REIZE has just enough to keep meyountally sharp and focus while you are on a drive.

REIZE is also sugar-free and calorie-free, so you don’t have to combat the sugar crash nor worry about your calorie intake.

#3 Other Ways to Stay Awake on the Road, According to Professional Drivers

Best Drinks Keep You Awake While Driving, According to Professional Drivers
Effective Ways to Stay Awake While Driving

If caffeine and energy drinks are not your choice, do not fret. There are other methods of staying awake when you are tired behind the wheel.

Top 10+ Best Ways to Stay Awake When Driving

1.Food to Eat and Avoid

*Munchies and Snacks

Want to make sure your brain is doing something that is low cost? Try eating while driving.

By eating snacks, your facial muscles are activated, which promotes blood flow to your head. This would provide you a constant stream of energy that can help you battle fatigue in driving.

Make sure you keep them within your reach for easy access while you keep your eyes on the road, and a few examples of munchies and snacks to bring are:

-Trail Mix

-Dried Berries


-Protein Bars

*More Foods To Consider

-Iceberg lettuce (especially towards the stem) helps keep you awake. Read more here.

-Apple – Biting and chewing the apple is what keeps you awake not the fruit itself. Carrots are also good.

-Dehydration can cause fatigue drink water.

-Celery which is high in magnesium helps.

Foods To Avoid

-potatoes or other starchy vegetables

-pancakes or waffles. Keep the fat content low.

-pizza, bacon or steak

-No cheese, cream, or milk with fat.

-ice cream, cake or pie.

2.Chewing Gum

Similar to munchies and snacks chewing gum can stimulate your facial muscles, which promotes blood flow to your head.

Pick a flavor of your choice and pop one into your mouth. The sugar content in chewing gums will lead to insulin production in your body, which counteracts the sugar, keeping you alert and awake.

Unlike breathing or blinking, which are unconscious activities. Chewing is a conscious activity, which activates and stimulates the brain.

So not only are you keeping yourself awake while driving by using your facial muscles, but you’re also keeping the brain stimulated as well, which is a great thing.


Sometimes, the passengers inside the car get quiet, or when you are alone, the only sound you hear is the subtle rumble of the engine. In that situation, your brain and body tend to feel sluggish and uninterested.

By playing lively and energetic music, you wake your brain up through auditory stimulation, but be mindful of the volume, you still want to hear the environmental sounds and the honks of other vehicles.

And if you want to warm up your vocal cords, you can even sing along to your favorite songs to increase your alertness. If you have a passenger, then you can do some karaoke inside the car.

*Listen to an audio book. Before your trip, download an audio book to your phone and listen as you drive.

*Sing along with the radio. The others in the car may not enjoy this too much, but belting out your favorite tunes will help you stay awake and energized.

4.Stop and walk around, exercise

Take full advantage of the rest stops and landmarks on your way to your destination. Getting up and walking will help keep your body energized when you sit back down, just like recess and gym classes are designed to help elementary kids refocus. If you find yourself losing focus at the office, this technique could work as well.

Stopping at a rest stop to get some fresh air and stretch your legs may remind your brain that it is not time to sleep.

If you’re feeling really tired, pull over and do some jumping jacks or go for a quick brisk walk. This will help get you some fresh air and your heart pumping to wake you up.

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and can lower your level of stress hormones. These can keep you more alert while driving.

5.Drive and Talk with Your Passengers or Partners

There is more than one benefit to driving with another person in the car. They can keep a conversation going to keep your mind active, and if you are getting too tired, you can switch places to get some rest.

Related: 9 Ways To Stay Awake At Work without Coffee

6.Don’t Get Cozy – Turn down the temperature

Feeling warm and cozy can create a false need for sleep. But, have you ever tried to sleep when you were cold? By turning down the temperature in the car by a few degrees, you can shock your senses a bit and wake your whole body up. If your really tired the colder the better. Also consider rolling down the windows. The wind noise will help.

Lower the car window or choose the air conditioner to get outside air

When driving with the door closed, turning on the air conditioner for a long time, the body will be easily tired due to the lack of oxygen in the cabin. Therefore, if you sit in the car for a long time, sometimes you should choose the mode to get the outside air or lower the car window to let the air circulate, ensuring the amount of oxygen in the car cabin, avoiding fatigue. This is an anti-drowsy driving solution that should be applied when driving long distances.

7.Stop for a mid-drive nap

If going for a long haul, 4 hours or more, stop mid way through and take a 20 minute nap. Be sure to check out our selection of all the most comfortable RV mattresses to make these naps the best part of your drive!

8.Avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m

Don’t drive when you usually sleep and when sleeping is irresistible.

Avoid driving in the late afternoon or between the hours of 12 am and 6 am, when the highest number of drowsiness-related accidents occur. If this is not possible, then be as vigilant as possible while you’re on the road. Watch for warning signs that you’re feeling drowsy, such as drifting across lanes or hitting rumble strips, and keep an eye on other drivers for the same behaviors.

9.Sit up straight

If you’re slouching in your seat, you may be more apt to fall asleep. Good posture will give you more control over your vehicle and improve your hand-eye coordination.

10.Don’t drink alcohol and avoid medications

Never drink and drive. Alcohol reduces your driving ability and worsens tiredness. It's also illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol.

Even legal amounts of alcohol for operating a vehicle can cause drowsiness behind the wheel. You should be especially careful if you already feel tired.

The same is true of prescription and over-the-counter medications, particularly anti-allergy pills, that induce feelings of sleepiness. Be sure to check the side effects of any new medications before driving. If these effects include drowsiness, consider using public transportation instead.

Improve Your Sleep Hygiene: Sleep hygiene refers to habits and practices that help ensure an adequate amount of high-quality sleep each night. Practicing good sleep hygiene can help you feel more alert and well-rested in the morning.

#4 Conclusion

Hopefully these tips can keep you awake and alert on the road and get you to your destination safely!

While drowsy driving is hazardous, there are ways you can combat it. Drinking coffee before and/or during the drive is a good option. Remember, though, that the best solution to drowsy driving is getting a good night’s sleep.

The Journal of Sleep Research’s survey of UK drivers studied these quick ways to combat tiredness while driving. They concluded that if you need to do any of these, it’s a sign you should be stopping to rest.

Ultimately, the best course of action is regular naps. The researchers found that 15-minute naps maintain performance over 35 hours with no sleep – if taken every six hours. Naps really can make that much difference. Even shutting your eyes in your seat for four minutes can help. What’s more, they don’t force you to change your plans. All it takes is pulling over into the nearest car park or service station.

Drowsy driving isn’t safe. It can be even more dangerous than drunk driving. Try some of these strategies to keep yourself awake when you drive. Also, don’t hesitate to look into alternate transportation options if you frequently find yourself getting drowsy when you drive.

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