Why Driving Long Hours Ends Up Making Us Tired During The Day And The Day After

Driving for long hours can make anyone tired, and if you’re like me, you go through stages. Everyone is different though, and there are many factors in play. If I have been driving all day, once it hits nighttime, I often want to stop. And of course there are the breaks because we all need to stand up from time to time after driving stints. Driving all day can cause you to be sleepy at any time for many reasons, and it can even make you tired the next day.

You’ve heard of jet lag after a flight. Well, now we’re talking car lag. There are some that say the sleepiness can often be due to boredom. That can be a factor, depending on the circumstances, but boredom doesn’t even have to be in play. Driving on the interstate for miles upon miles can also be downright monotonous, even if you are in conversation the entire time or listening to music.

I often take long trips, and I can tell you I go through phases, too. You can start a trip talking a mile a minute, but at some point, you’re going to have to switch gears. You can start listening to music, but at some point, you’re going to want to turn it off and give it a rest. You go through phases on a long trip.

There is one time I can remember taking a long trip and not going through those phases, and remembering that trip is making me smile. I wasn’t driving. I was riding on a train with family to New York. I sat with someone I love very much, and we talked the entire 13 hours on the way back.

Most trips aren’t going to play out like that. I was so excited to be spending time with this person that I lost track of time, and we likely could have kept talking and playing games for another 13 hours straight. Most of the time when driving long hours these days, I’m by myself. This last trip, I found that I wanted to stop twice driving from South Carolina to Texas.

My return trip to South Carolina is coming up, and I’m planning things a little differently. I plan to start out at 3 AM and drive all day until I want to stop. I want to make one stop only and not two, chiefly because I want to save money. But even getting rest at a hotel, you can bet that I’m going to wake up a lot more tired than I was the day before when first starting out.

I still plan to finish the trip on the second day. It will be doable, but I won’t push the envelope either. I’m going to be Driving Miss Daisy down the road, and I’m not a fan of driving in the dark down country interstates. I will figure it out, and it will be a good trip. But as you can see, there are so many factors that come into play that cause you to get tired when driving all day long. Alertness, a lack of sunlight, and an irregular sleep schedule are three more culprits. A bit of coffee might be able to help, but make a stop if you’re too tired to drive.