With the official start of the summer vacation drive season just a few weeks away, highway safety officials are warning tired drivers that energy drinks are no substitute for a good night’s sleep. Advertised as a fast energy boost to combat tiredness with ads often directed at sleepy motorists, research has shown that energy drinks can not only make drivers even more tired, but they cause the same lack of concentration and coordination as drinking too much alcohol.
Energy drinks rely on high doses of caffeine to produce their advertised energy boost. However, multiple research studies have shown that, while drinking a caffeinated beverage can provide an initial feeling of alertness, once the effects of the caffeine wear off, the person feels a deeper level of exhaustion than before drinking the beverage.
According to tests conducted by the American Food and Drink Administration, people who consumed energy drinks also exhibited a noticeable decrease in reaction time that was comparable to the slowed reaction times displayed by drunk drivers. Rather than truly alleviating tiredness, the caffeine buzz provided by energy drinks appears to only mask exhaustion.
The gap between consumer perception of the benefits of energy drinks in staving off tiredness and scientific proof of their detriments has led the Institute of Advanced Motorists to call for cigarette-like warnings to be printed on energy drink cans. During the summer drive season, motorists are urged to take frequent breaks and get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road.