If you’ve ever rolled down the windows and cranked up the music to keep yourself from dozing off at the wheel, you’re probably not alone.
In fact, 60% of adult drivers have admitted to operating a vehicle while feeling drowsy, resulting in 100,000 police-reported crashes each year. Sleep-deprived driving has been making headlines after a Walmart truck driver fell asleep on the road and crashed his semi into a van, critically injuring comedian Tracy Morgan and killing another passenger.
Now, a new study presented at the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2014 Annual Meeting examined two common remedies for driving fatigue: caffeine and music. After putting people through 2-hour simulated driving sessions at the same time each day for three days, researchers found that both caffeine and music helped drivers feel more awake than those who went without a stimulant, but only caffeine improved a person’s driving performance. The researchers suspect that music isn't as helpful as coffee because it can be distracting.
So if you’re hitting the road and you feel your eyelids inching down, stop for a coffee or tea, lower the volume on your Beyoncé playlist, and focus on the task at hand. Or, better yet, take a quick nap at a rest stop before continuing on to your destination.