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The Effects Of Caffeine While Driving


The issue of caffeine and driving is one that continues to attract a lot of attention. Many types of research are being done to determine the actual effect of caffeine on drivers. However, the results have been a mixture of reactions with some claiming that caffeine can significantly reduce chances of a crash for long distance drivers and heavy commercial drivers. Arguably, the primary cause of accidents on the roads is exhaustion and sleep for the long distance drivers. Controlled research has shown that drinking caffeine caffeinated drinks is linked with a 63% chance of lowering crash risks. However, there have been other claims that caffeine affects the body in various ways that affect the functioning and increase the likelihood of causing accidents. Less sleep that is associated with caffeinated drinks is believed t5o increase fatigue. This leads to higher chances of crashing. However, most of these claims are yet to be verified when most of the researchers and in particular by the American Food and Drink Administration are complete.

Effect of Caffeine on Visual Attention

Studies have shown that caffeine will significantly increase the sustained and selected attention. This helps the driver to focus on the wheel and the road for a considerable duration of time. However, the studies also showed that the effect of caffeine will differ with persons and with the level of consumption. The attention curve resembles an inverted. As you increase caffeine intake, you increase the level of attention. This happens up to a particular point where an increase in caffeine intake does not necessarily mean an increase in attention. The effect of attention was also compared for the habitual and the non-habitual caffeine takers. In non-habitual caffeine takers, the level of awareness is dependent on dosage, and optimal results are at 200mg of caffeine. The habitual takers will require more caffeine to get some results. This is in the order of 400mg of caffeine.

Caffeine and Reaction Time

Studies have shown that time taken to sense a stimulus and react to it are not necessarily affected by caffeine. However, even though caffeine enhances sharpness, it does not affect in any way the response to the stimulus. Caffeine does not affect the sense of time and duration passing in an individual. However, by increasing alertness, caffeine enhances the level of safety when driving. Particularly in the night, caffeine is believed to reduce the cognitive mistakes that may be caused by fatigue and sleep. Caffeine may also contribute to reducing cognitive errors caused by suffering from some conditions like common cold.