Coffee keeps you awake

Lorry drivers who drink coffee 'cut their crash risk'
By Michelle Roberts
Health editor, BBC News online

Long distance lorry drivers who drink coffee have fewer road traffic accidents, research suggests.

Australian investigators say they found the link while comparing 530 heavy goods vehicle drivers who had recently been in a crash with 517 who had not.
Coffee and other beverages containing the stimulant caffeine cut crash risk, probably because they boost alertness, the British Medical Journal reported.
Road safety experts stressed caffeine was no substitute for sleep.
In the study, more than a third said they drank caffeinated beverages and half of these said they did so in order to stay awake.
The drivers who consumed caffeine to keep them from nodding off behind the wheel were 63% less likely to crash than drivers who had no caffeine.
This was after adjusting for factors such as age, sleep patterns, kilometres driven, breaks taken and night-driving schedules.
Nap advice If the driver had a poor track record of crashes in the past five years this had an impact on their likelihood of having another crash, raising their risk by 81%.
About 70% of the drivers in the study said they stopped for a nap when they were tired - something that road safety experts strongly recommend.

THINK! Road Safety advice

Lead researcher Lisa Sharwood and colleagues from the University of Sydney say while it is clear that tired drivers should be taking breaks, it still not clear what activities benefit them most during these breaks - napping or drinking coffee.
"The varying extent to which activities such as taking a nap, drinking a cup of coffee, or going for a short walk contribute to subsequent vigilance behind the wheel are not well understood and are therefore recommended for further study," they say.
UK road safety experts say the only real cure for fatigue is sleep.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: "Driving tired significantly increases the risk of an accident so we encourage drivers to ensure they are properly rested before climbing behind the wheel.
"Drivers should get a good night's sleep, plan sufficient breaks and pull over if they feel tired.
"The Highway Code is clear that the most effective way to counter sleepiness while driving is to have, for example, two caffeinated drinks and take a short nap."

Don't drive tired

  • Plan your journey to include a 15-minute break every two hours
  • Don't start a long trip if you're already tired
  • Remember the risks if you have to get up unusually early to start a long drive
  • Try to avoid long trips between midnight and 06:00 when you're likely to feel sleepy anyway
  • If you start to feel sleepy, find a safe place to stop - not the hard shoulder of a motorway. Drink two cups of coffee or a high-caffeine drink and have a rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow time for the caffeine to kick in
  • Remember, the only real cure for sleepiness is proper sleep. A caffeine drink or a nap is a short-term solution that will only allow you to keep driving for a short time
BBC News - Lorry drivers who drink coffee 'cut their crash risk'

The Highway Code is clear that the most effective way to counter sleepiness while driving is to have, for example, two caffeinated drinks and take a short nap.
Yet the medical profession tell us that if you have two caffeinated drinks, you'll have a job getting to sleep. Besides, isn't napping while driving dangerous?

Personally, I don't think it's the caffeine that benefits alertness, it's the background activity. You feel your eyelids dropping so you reach for your cup - it's the stimulus of movement that breaks the monotony. You'd get the same effect by smoking a cigarette, sucking sweeties or wolfing down sandwiches.

The most effective stimulus provided by the Army that I've experienced was reaching into my haverbag in the wee hours during a night time convoy move to find a hard boiled egg complete with shell. Carefully peeling the shell off in total darkness dispelled any thought of sleep.
In other news, pope is Catholic and bears defecated in heavily foliated areas.

I think the two drinks and a nap thing is meant to:
1) Mean "stop, then..."
2) The idea is that caffeine doesn't kick in straight away - so drink, have a nap and when you wake you'll be suitably stimulated.

I've always felt that exercise is a good way of countering sleep.
Thinking about earning a crust does it for me.
Tesco are doing their coffee sachets half-price again, including a new "Strong" variety. That is all.
what? have you ever really driven long distances? ie not just an exercise but days/weeks of toil behind the wheel? no proper rest for a long period makes it worse. living around a 'motorway / port enviornment' is unnatural, dangerous and has little comfort which turns fatigue into an agonising struggle against sleep.

its not just being 'a bit sleepy' its sometimes a case of the brain simply shutting down...trying to startle/stimulate your brain into working when its trying constantly to shut-down and close off.

the army has always tried to create awareness about fatigue. 'Don't Die Of Fatigue' posters used to be in barracks.
of course there are standards and hours etc all enforced. although cometh the day...the enemy won't respect your driving hours etc! so its always good to be aware of how to drive/fight etc beyond your usual limits.

little tricks and snacks etc help but when you have consumed every kind of food, drink and sweet known to man, plus the insides of your mouth, used cold air, music/media, singing, talking etc etc ...sometimes you need something else!!

yes a rest helps but sometimes it wont help much, only delay the effects a little, or you are unable to sleep (such as in a cab or noisy hotel)

jetlag + fatigue is also something which can induce sleep without much warning. it can be lethal.

they call the apple the truck driver's friend as yes, doing something other than driving can stimulate the brain. but a dose of caffeine (ranging from small to massive depending on the conditions) sometimes the only way drivers can avoid micro-sleeps if you really do have to drive hundreds of miles in a day and the going is not always easy.

but this kind of thing should be built into driver training anyway.
You can't sleep if you're laughing out loud, obviously not the best method to stay awake in an OP and I used to get some odd looks on the bike, but give it a go in the car, it works.

Similar threads

Latest Threads