QOTD: What Technique Do You Use To Stay Awake On Long Road Trips?

While I’m sure some of you regularly top this (my hat’s off to you!), I set a ‘personal best’ of over 32,000 miles on the road in 2014. Besides my normal commute, much of the mileage was accrued repeatedly making the 16-hour (all times listed are one-way) trek to my Dad’s home in Central Georgia – he has dementia and is getting to the point where he needs higher levels of care. Two additional 12+ hour trips were made for funerals, and the last 12-hour trip of the year was for a New Year’s Eve wedding in Jackson, MO.

To stay awake on long trips, I used to gorge on Coke and sugary snacks, only stopping for gas and ‘defueling.’ I’ve since gradually shifted my technique to making more stops, eating healthier snacks and only having a mid-morning and mid-afternoon coffee. A long-haul OTR trucking friend told me he snacks on sunflower seeds (still in the hulls), as it keeps his mind engaged (picking out his teeth!) while he drives. I’ve settled on plain popcorn, which seems to work well when I start getting that sleepy feeling. I’ve also gotten to the point where I will sometimes make the whole trip without ever turning on the radio, where I used to have it cranked up with lively tunes to keep me energized.

So what’s your favorite technique for staying awake on a long road trip?