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Should you drink coffee if you are tired while driving?

Maybe it’s coffee, or perhaps it is another caffeinated drink such as tea, cola or an energy drink. If you have been driving for long, there is a good chance you have reached for one of these beverages when you got tired at the wheel.

It is a commonly held belief that they can help you stay alert and get to your destination safely. Yet it is not entirely true.

Caffeine can give you a quick boost

The caffeine in a drink takes around 15 minutes to affect your central nervous system. That is what makes you feel more alert. The peak comes at about the hour mark.

So does that mean it’s a good solution if I don’t have long left to drive?

If you can stay awake until it kicks in, then it may help. Once you pass the hour mark, remember the effect drops, and you will start to get tired again. As with many highs, the low that follows is often lower than if you had done nothing. So it could make driving even more dangerous if you have over an hour to go.

Can’t I just keep topping up my caffeine levels?

One issue with caffeinated drinks is that they dehydrate, which can cause further tiredness.

So, what should I do?

The best thing to do if you feel tired while driving is to pull over somewhere safe and rest. If you are tired, no drink is going to change that. All caffeine will do is mask it temporarily.

Tired drivers cause many crashes every year. If one injures you, seek legal help to pursue compensation.