A Novel Way To Stay Awake While Driving

There are plenty of strategies to help you stay awake while driving. Here’s a highly effective one you may not have thought about.



TRAVEL ADVISORY | Recently a number of Canadian newspapers reported the results of a new online survey from a national insurance company confirming that an “alarming number” of people (30 percent of male respondents and 14 percent of female ones) admitted to nodding off while driving (CLICK HERE for the story).

Yikes! With road trip season in full swing, vacationers are going to need to reach deep into their bag of tricks to make sure they stay awake when driving long distances. To the roster of obvious ways to maintain alertness—starting out rested; ingesting caffeine (coffee, Red Bull, No-Doz); blasting yourself with cold air, intense conversation or loud music—we would like to offer a not so obvious solution, an inexpensive food item that has worked shockingly well to revive every driver we know who has tried it.

The Seed Of A Great Idea

Sunflower Seeds- iStockAlthough I have nothing but anecdotal evidence to go on (including multiple stories from friends who have used this trick), absolutely nothing wakes me up faster or more completely when I’m driving than eating sunflower seeds.

It’s A Shell Game

The sunflower seeds do need to be ones in the shell, though, and I do need to crack them with my teeth and then separate the nutmeat from the hull with my tongue. Maybe it’s the mental focus required to complete this task while driving that accounts for the instant change in my mental acuity. And while there must be a scientific explanation for the kind of change this activity triggers in my brain (where’s Walter White when I need him?), all I know right now it that it wakes me up 100 percent better than any other method I’ve tried—even if the shells do sometimes make a mess in the car.

Have you used sunflower seeds to stay awake while driving? Or maybe you have another equally or more effective trick? If so, it would be wonderful if you shared it with other Frugalbits readers. —C. Rule

1 reply
  1. Jake S
    Jake S says:

    caffeine helps my focus when driving long distances. Coffee and or diet coke. It doesn’t help if I am overly tired though. Then it’s time to get off the road.


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