Smells That Keep You Alert While Driving - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

4/29/05

Smells That Keep You Alert While Driving

Some people turn the radio up, others eat to stay awake. What do you do to keep alert when you're driving long distance?

"An older gentlemen who told us the way he stayed awake, he took off his shoes so he could smell his stinking feet. He says that smell of my feet just perked me right up," says Jane Stutts, Ph.D., with the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.

That sounds yucky, but researchers at the University of North Carolina say they've been studying different smells to find something that might trigger alertness on the road. They found the only scent that might help you keep your senses is peppermint.

Even so, Dr. Stutts says it's proven the only short term solution to staying alert on the road is to pull over for a couple cups of coffee and a twenty minute cat nap.

"It is restorative, it does refresh you, and it gives you some time for the caffeine to get into your system and be effective," says Dr. Stutts.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving is responsible for more than 100,000 car crashes every year, killing at least 1,500 people and injuring more than 75,000.

So, remember, if you're feeling sleepy and you have a long drive ahead - the coffee, cat nap combination is recommended as a short term fix.

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