Safer on the highway after a cup of coffee
We previously wrote about Utrecht research in which motorists were more alert behind the wheel during a 4-hour car journey if they had drunk a can of Red Bull. If you don't like energy drinks, the same Utrecht residents know an alternative that works just as well: an old-fashioned cup of coffee.
The design of the Utrecht study is identical to that of their Red Bell study. Drivers had to drive for 2 hours in a simulator, then were given a 15-minute break after which they drove for another 2 hours.
On one occasion the test subjects drank a cup of coffee with about 80 milligrams of caffeine, on the other a cup of decaf.
The researchers registered variations in the speed at which the subjects drove [SDP] and the extent to which they swayed [SDLP]. The Utrecht researchers discovered that the subjects drove more cleanly after the break in which they drank coffee than after a break in which they were given decaf.
The caffeinated coffee also reduced the feeling of fatigue [KSS].
"The present study demonstrates that one cup of caffeinated coffee has a positive effect on continuous highway driving in non-sleep restricted, healthy volunteers",
the researchers conclude.
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Jul;222(2):337-42.
Red Bull breaks highway hypnosis 09.04.2012
Dozing off at the wheel? Coffee and a nap help equally well 09.08.2009