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Have that morning coffee: Study shows caffeine makes us better drivers

 by Kathryn Lindsay

People are always telling us to put down that cup of coffee, and I never have the energy to argue with them until after I’ve had the cup of coffee. Well, finally there’s some good news for caffeine connoisseurs: Drinking coffee could make you a better driver.

A study conducted in partnership  with UniSA Sleep Research Centre, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research,and Monash University Accident Research Centre has found that, while caffeine doesn’t do much to reduce drowsiness at the wheel, there have been significant links between consuming caffeine and good driving. Specifically, driving errors were reduced when participants in the study were chewing caffeinated gum.

This study’s goal was to take a look at caffeine as a potential aid for those whose work depends on these kinds of driving and operating related tasks. Researcher Kayla Johnson explained, “In real life you often don’t have the luxury of stopping when you’re tired, so you need some compensatory strategies to combat cognitive fatigue, and when you’re driving this is particularly important because of road safety.”

Exactly. People like ambulance and truck drivers work long, demanding hours — the last thing you want is for them to fall asleep at the wheel. When driving long (and late) hours is required as part of your job, you need to look for ways to make that job as safe as possible — for yourself and everyone else on the road. 

It’s important to keep in mind that caffeinated gum is different than drinking coffee. It actually works a little better. While drinking coffee takes up to 90 minutes to be absorbed by the brain and lasts an unpredictable amount of time, caffeinated gum takes only ten minutes and lasts an hour and a half.

But does it come in pumpkin spice?

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