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How Do You Drive Long Distance Without Getting Tired?

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The key to driving long distances without getting tired is to take short breaks every 2 hours and get plenty of rest between driving sessions.  Use your breaks to have some caffeine, do some light exercise, or engage your brain in a stimulating activity.  While in the car, stay engaged with a good podcast or audiobook, and bring a friend along if you can.

If you’ve got some long hours of driving ahead of you, don’t panic!  We’ve got 10 tips to help you drive long distances without getting tired:

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1. Make sure you are well-rested between driving sessions

If you know you have a long-distance drive coming up, get plenty of rest in the nights leading up to it.  If you have several days of long driving, prioritize a good sleep routine between driving sessions.  Have set bedtimes and wake-up times and give yourself plenty of time to wind down after a long day of driving.

2. Sit up straight

Keep your body alert by sitting up straight and continually engaging with your mirrors and road signs.  

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3. Keep a cool/stimulating environment

Keep the car cool by rolling down the windows or turning on the AC at a low setting.  The slight chill keeps your body awake and your mind more alert for the miles ahead.

If you are driving during the hot summer months, or don’t have AC, you may want to check out How to Keep Cool in the Car without AC.

4. Take a break every 2 hours

There is no way around it, the best way to keep awake while driving long distances is to take frequent shortstops.  Getting out of the car into some bright lights, interacting with people, and grabbing some fresh air reengages your brain and boosts energy levels. 

5. Coffee/Caffeinated Tea

Have coffee or caffeinated tea handy and take occasional drinks to fuel your journey.  Be careful not to drink the whole thing too quickly, or you’ll end up jittery and in desperate need of the restroom. 

stay awake on a long drive

6. Listen to an interesting podcast or audiobook

Keeping yourself entertained is a great way to keep yourself awake on a long-distance drive.  Find an interesting podcast or audiobook that keeps you engaged.

We’ve got some great ideas to pique your interest with our 40 Best Podcasts for a Road Trip and 32 Best Audiobooks for a Road Trip.

7. Get out of the car and do some light exercise

Find a safe place to stop and get your blood moving with some star jumps, lunges, or a quick jog. A long car ride can leave you feeling stiff and dazed, get those endorphins pumping to wake up your brain and get your body out of the driving position.    

8. Avoid driving between Midnight and 6 am

The NHTSA recommends avoiding driving between midnight and 6 am as it is a time when your body is normally asleep.  If you can, try to drive during the daylight hours and avoid driving more than 8 hours a day.

Not sure just how far you can get in a day’s driving? Then check out our How Far can you Drive in a Day post.

9. Drive with a friend

If you can, share the journey with someone!  It is easier to stay awake and engaged when you have company.  It even helps if you can call someone (via Bluetooth of course) to make the ride feel a little less lonely.

10. Avoid drinking alcohol the day or night before a big drive

Alcohol can linger in your system for hours or even a few days depending on how much you have had.  Don’t make a long drive harder by battling a hangover and trying to fight lost sleep.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you make a qualifying purchase, but this is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting The Road Trip Expert.

Lisa Hurd Profile Image

Lisa Hurd


Lisa Hurd is a born and raised Californian currently living with her husband, daughter, and labrador in the UK. She enjoys road trips with her family and has fond memories of cross-country adventures with her 3 sisters while growing up. She loves to write about a variety of camping-related and road trip topics. In her spare time, she’s an avid reader of books. She misses the sun… send vitamin D and quality Mexican food ASAP!