Taking a Drive? Take a Nap!

Obey the sign

Did you know that being awake for more than 20 hours results in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, the legal limit in all states? Not only does drowsiness impair reactions times just like alcohol and drugs, it also impairs judgment and performance.

It is a goal of the National Sleep Foundation to help promote awareness of “drowsy driving.” The National Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 police reported crashes each year are caused primarily by drowsy driving. With more than 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and $12.5 billion in monetary losses, the consequences of drowsy driving can be life altering.

To help make the roads a safer place, here are some important driving dos and don’ts:


  • Drive if you are tired or on medication that may cause drowsiness.
  • Rely on the radio, an open window or other tricks to keep you awake.
  • Drive at times when you would normally be sleeping.
  • Drink even a small amount of alcohol, especially if you are sleepy.


  • Get a good night’s sleep before a long drive.
  • Get off the road if you notice any of the warning signs of fatigue.
  • Take a nap – find a safe place to take a 15 to 20-minute nap.
  • Consume caffeine – the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours, but DO NOT rely on it for long periods.
  • Try consuming caffeine before taking a short nap to get the benefits of both.
  • Drive with a friend. A passenger who remains awake can help watch for signs of fatigue in the driver and can take a turn driving, if necessary.
  • Always wear your seatbelt.

Check out these websites for more information about Drowsy Driving (www.DrowsyDriving.org) or to learn about the National Sleep Foundation (www.sleepfoundation.org).


Meredith Greene
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Roger Miller, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

One thought on “Taking a Drive? Take a Nap!

  1. “Try consuming caffeine before taking a short nap to get the benefits of both”?? Excuse me, WHAT? Does this even make sense?? Right after you suggest drinking caffeine for alertness you say this… Need I even continue??

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