Coffee makes early risers safer on road

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

Early risers who have two cups of coffee before driving to work are at least three times less likely to have an accident than those who abstain from drinking caffeine.

Early risers who have two cups of coffee before driving to work are at least three times less likely to have an accident than those who abstain from drinking caffeine.

Research published in the latest issue of Psychobiology, shows that people who have to get up in the early morning after five hours of sleep have less accidents if they drink coffee with 200mg of caffeine in it, or two cans of a caffeine-laden drink such as Red Bull, before leaving the house.

Jim Horne, of the Sleep Research Laboratory at Loughborough University and the co-author of the research, said that 22 per cent of serious road accidents are caused by drowsiness. He believes lack of sleep causes more of the 3,500 annual road deaths than alcohol. Professor Horne said: "People getting up early should be aware that they are extremely vulnerable on the road.

"Most accidents occur between five and seven in the morning so a quick couple of coffees could reduce the accident rate considerably."

The research shows that people need to consume at least 200mg of caffeine half an hour before driving to reduce the chances of having an accident down to the normal rate.

Professor Horne said: "With coffee it is quite difficult to assess how much caffeine is in it, because the concentration doesn't depend on taste, smell or how it looks. Caffeine 'energy' drinks are a more guaranteed way of consuming 200mg of caffeine."

The researchers put a group of experienced drivers, all aged under 30, in a simulated, computer-generated driving situation for two hours from 6am. Some had been given 200mg of caffeine to drink.

The caffeine significantly reduced the number of driving incidents, such as drifting across lanes. Those who had had five hours' sleep and two cups of coffee had a normal chance of having an accident within the 90 minutes compared with at least eight incidents of dangerous driving among each of those who had had no caffeine.

Comments