Coffee and other caffeinated drinks have long been a staple of those who drive long distances. Maybe you have even drunk them yourself.
Yet often, we blindly do things without understanding the full truth behind them. Can a can of Red Bull or a cup of coffee really help us get home safely? Or is it just a marketing strategy employed by drink manufacturers and roadside service stations?
There is some truth to it
Caffeine can help you stay awake. Yet the increase in alertness is only temporary. Research shows that the caffeine high can kick in after just 15 minutes but can start to wear off after an hour.
Too much caffeine can be bad for your driving
Caffeine also has other side effects, such as raising your heartbeat and perhaps putting you on edge. So, you cannot just drink more caffeine to keep you alert.
A calm driver is better than a jittery one, and being on edge might cause some people to react dangerously to a situation. For example, if another driver cuts them up, they might dismiss it as a mistake when relaxed, but when they are buzzed out on coffee, they might take it as a provocation.
Rest is the only safe option
If you feel tired when driving, the best thing you can do is find somewhere safe to pull over and get some rest. It might delay your journey slightly, but crashing due to fatigue would delay it much more.
If a tired driver injures you in a crash, seek legal help to understand your options.