1. Get plenty of sleep before your drive
Think about exhaustion before you begin your journey, not after. Get at least seven hours of sleep for two consecutive nights before the road trip to build up your energy reserves. It’s best to start in the morning after a good night’s sleep, not after a long, tiring day of work (unless you plan to stop). Take regular breaks along the way to stay fresh and alert, stopping roughly every 100 miles or two hours. “Also, try to avoid driving between 1 and 3 p.m., when the body’s temperature is lower and people are naturally drowsy,
2. Bring healthy road trip snacks
Carrying along a variety of vitamin-packed, healthy foods will allow you to get by on smaller snacks throughout the long drive, while skipping the fast-food stops.
3. Stay hydrated
Keep the water supply well-stocked for maximum energy. “A possible downside of this, of course, is that you’ll need to make more bathroom stops,”
4. Plan your rest stops
One of the most crucial tips for road trips is to get out of your car and stretch your legs every two hours or so, our experts suggest. Plan these stops into your long drive, whether they fall at mealtimes or can be timed to let you view interesting places.
5. Chew gum
The repetitive process increases circulation and alertness. “You don’t need the sugary kind to get the desired effect,” says Breus, who is a fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health.
6. Use energizing scents
During long distance driving, Breus also recommends keeping a source of peppermint scent nearby. When you feel you need a boost, take a sniff. “It’s a pleasant, all-natural pick-me-up that has been shown to reduce fatigue and increase alertness,” he says.
7. Sit up straight
Make sure your seat is adjusted properly for your body, tilted for maximum blood flow. If you feel a driving “trance” coming on, sit up. “Take a deep breath and scan your body for tension,”
8. Keep passengers entertained
Long drives — especially with kids — can often lead to bickering. That kind of aggravation leads to driver fatigue. So make sure children are entertained with books, puzzles and other time-killing diversions.