Driver sleepiness and individual differences in preferences for countermeasures

J Sleep Res. 2008 Mar;17(1):16-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2869.2008.00633.x.


The aim of the present national questionnaire study was to relate the use of sleepiness countermeasures among drivers to possible explanatory factors such as age, sex, education, professional driving, being a shift worker, having experience of sleepy driving, sleep-related crashes, problems with sleep and sleepiness in general and sleep length during working days. Also the attitude to countermeasures related to information or driver support system was studied. A random sample of 3041 persons was drawn from the national register of vehicle owners. The response rate was 62%. The most common countermeasures were to stop to take a walk (54%), turn on the radio/stereo (52%), open a window (47%), drink coffee (45%) and to ask passengers to engage in conversation (35%). Logistic regression analysis showed that counteracting sleepiness with a nap (a presumably efficient method) was practiced by those with experience of sleep-related crashes or of driving during severe sleepiness, as well as by professional drivers, males and drivers aged 46-64 years. The most endorsed means of information to the driver about sleepiness was in-car monitoring of driving performance providing drivers with information on bad or unsafe driving. This preference was related to experience of sleepy driving, not being a professional driver and male gender. Four clusters of behaviours were identified: alertness-enhancing activity while driving (A), stopping the car (S), taking a nap (N) and ingesting coffee or other sources of caffeine (C) (energy drinks, caffeine tablets). The participants were grouped according to their use of any of the four categories of countermeasures. The most common cluster was those who used activity, as well as stopping and drinking caffeine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Automobile Driving / psychology*
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data*
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Coffee
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence* / epidemiology
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence* / prevention & control
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence* / psychology
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Coffee