Drink tea to fight fatigue while driving

If you feel tired behind the wheel on a long drive, try a cup of tea or coffee to ward off sleep instead of raising the volume of your music system.

New research has shown that drinking caffeinated beverages and listening to music are two popular fatigue-fighting measures that drivers take.

“But music can distract drivers which may explain why driving performance is not significantly improved when it is used as a fatigue countermeasure,” said ShiXu Liu, a graduate student in Ontario-based McMaster University’s department of mechanical engineering.

Researchers designed a simulated driving study that measured driver fatigue levels against the use of caffeine, music or no stimulant.

Twenty participants completed three 120-minute driving sessions over a three-day span at the same time each day and scored their fatigue levels on a questionnaire.

Results indicated that drivers who used either caffeine or music as a stimulant felt significantly less tired than those who did not.

Those who drank a caffeinated beverage to stay awake performed their driving tasks much better than those who listened to music or those in the control group.

“Even though both caffeine and music keep drivers feeling more awake, caffeine also helps them maintain good driving performance,” Liu added.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) 2014 in Chicago recently.

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