a woman behind the wheel of a car puts her hand to her head while her eyes are closed

Narcoleptic Nap Guide: Drowsy Driving Edition Part 2

This article is part 2 of my Narcoleptic Nap Guide series. You can read part 1 where I share tips for reducing risk on the road. In this article, we will look at the dangers and what to be aware of when taking a nap in your car.

Can you sleep in your car?

Unfortunately, many cities across the United States have banned the act of sleeping in your car. Visit your city's official website to see if happens applies to you. There's always the possibility that a police officer will approach you.

Safety first

Although not recommended, if choosing to park on a public street or in a  neighborhood. Be sure to follow parking laws to avoid getting a ticket. Never park along a major roadway. There's always a potential danger when around moving motor vehicles. There's also a risk of becoming a potential victim of a robbery, car-jacking, and sexual assault. Consider investing in a “bear alarm” or a taser (if legal where you live) as a line of defense.

To avoid heat exhaustion, keep your windows slightly cracked. Pack a cooling neck towel or 2 to help regulate body temperature during the hot summer months.

Items to keep you comfortable and alert

Here's a list of little things that really can go a long way when driving to wherever you’re going.

  • Green or white tea – Tea is a healthy alternative to coffee when needing a caffeine kick. These teas can also stimulate your senses, providing a little nudge of wakefulness.
  • Chewing gum or mints – This is another way to keep yourself stimulated but may only work for so long.
  • Pillow and blanket – Comfort is everything when it comes to sleep. Let’s face it – cars aren’t very comfortable, so a pillow and a blanket can go a long way when trying to find the perfect position.
  • Portable battery-powered fan – I recommend keeping spare batteries because it's always better to be safe than sorry. This is a lifesaver if you’re like me and are stuck in hot, humid weather practically year-round.
  • Low-carb/non-processed snacks – When consuming heavy foods, expect to need a nap soon after. Stick to lighter, healthy foods such as fruits, protein bars, trail mix, and smoothies. Bonus: these snacks can contain ingredients with energy-promoting properties.
  • A doctor's note – It is a lifesaver when confronted by law officials who question the legitimacy of your condition. (An official document provided by your medical provider justifying the need to make occasional snooze stops while on the road.)

Responsibility on the road

The privilege of driving comes with a great deal of responsibility. When operating a motor vehicle, it is crucial to schedule naps throughout your drive. Although napping may seem like a luxury to others, as a narcoleptic, the struggle is still very real.

But let’s face it, when has sleeping in your car ever been comfortable? Comfort or not, it is a decision made out of the concern of safety for yourself and others. With simple tips and tricks to help make your car-napping experience all the more enjoyable while keeping yourself out of harm's way.

If you ever find yourself questioning your ability to drive, don't. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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