Statistics estimate that drowsy driving and fatigue contribute to 20% to 30% of all deaths on the road. In fact, the average driver becomes four times more likely to become involved in a fatal crash if he or she drives between 10 p.m. and dawn.
If you have a lengthy road trip or vacation in the near future, you may need to pull a few late-night driving trips in your rental car to arrive at your destination on time. And if you don't have other drivers to help you make the journey, you may need alternative methods for staying awake when you sit behind the wheel.
Fortunately, you don't have to trust in coffee alone to keep you alert. The following apps can give you a little extra stimulation as you navigate long stretches of highways and freeways.
1. Anti Drowse (iOS)
You can download the Anti Drowse App for free through the iTunes store. This app lets you program the length of your trip, and the app will then make sounds and noises at varying intervals to keep you awake. Unlike your typical phone alarm, the app is unpredictable, so you can't fall into a sleepy, monotonous pattern while you drive.
Keep in mind that you may need to adjust your phone's sleep settings to enjoy the app's full functionality. A few reviewers point out that the app will stop working as soon as the phone falls asleep.
2. Driver Alarm (iOS)
If you want a free app with a few extra features, Driver Alarm uses your phone's camera to determine if you seem to be falling asleep. Simply place the phone so the camera faces you, and if you close your eyes, an alarm will sound. It comes with a variety of sounds, so you select the one that you like most.
For best results, you'll want to invest in a phone mount that you can position on or near your windshield. You want the camera to have an uninterrupted view of you without being a distraction.
3. Drive Awake (iOS and Android)
Drive Awake comes on both the iTunes store and the Google Play store. Much like the Driver Alarm app, Drive Awake uses your phone's camera to detect your eyes. If you seem sleepy, the app will sound an alarm. For your convenience, the app also uses your GPS settings and map to redirect you to the closest Café Amazon store so you can buy a cup of coffee.
Unfortunately, Café Amazon locations in Australia are few and far between. If you plan to travel anywhere other than Western Australia, you may want to stick to the detection and alarm settings and ignore the map directions entirely.
4. Anti Sleep Driver (Android)
According to a French study on sleep attention, blue light can increase alertness, visual perception, and reflexes much like a cup of coffee can. The Anti Sleep Driver app, available for free through Google Play, functions around this principal and emits a solid blue light on your screen.
Although a blue screen may seem simple in concept and function, many reviewers give it high praise for mildly drowsy driving. Of course, the screen might not be enough for moderate to heavy fatigue, and some individuals find the blue light too dazzling to drive safely.
5. Stay Awake While Driving (Android)
Do you need a little more stimulation than simply loud noises or lights? The Android app Stay Awake While Driving requires you to press a reset button every few seconds (which you determine depending on your exhaustion level). The app will warn you to press the button, and if you fail, the alarm will sound until you press it.
Many reviewers on Google Play love the idea, but you should take note that it could present a driving distraction as well.
Don't Drive While Fatigued
While these apps can help you stay awake to an extent, you should err on the side of caution and only drive when you feel refreshed and alert. If you have to drive especially long hours on your next road trip, remember to take a break every two hours or so to stretch your legs and take a nap as needed. If you can, complete most of your traveling time during the middle of the day and limit the time behind the wheel at night.
When you follow these tips, you significantly reduce your chance of injuring yourself and others.