As much as we love a good road trip, sometimes the winding roads and trees on trees on trees makes us sleepy. For some, sleeping in cars is inevitable. The hum of the engine and the smooth turns sends them off to dreamland. But what about people who must stay awake? (Either to keep the driver company or to make sure they’re absorbing all the scenery possible.)


According to a Women’s Weekly Australia piece from 2013, your ability or lack thereof to sleep during car rides can say a lot about you. Dr. Guy Meadows, clinical director of The Sleep School in London, shared with Women’s Weekly his knowledge on the topic.

“For some people, being a passenger in a car is an opportunity to switch off,” Dr. Meadows said. “Having someone else driving gives them a sense that someone else is in charge, so they can relax.”


It’s for this reason that children can fall asleep so easily during car rides. Not only do babies and kids live completely in the now, they have complete trust in the driver. Why wouldn’t they? For the most part, they don’t know what the alternative to trust is.

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But for others, Dr. Meadows says sleeping in car rides is impossible. “If you’re an anxious passenger, the opposite is true. For these people, any bump, braking or acceleration merits attention — they also feel they need to watch out for the driver.”

We feel as though we need to stay alert in case we need to take control of the situation. Basically, we’re the ultimate backseat driver.

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Okay, so we like to be aware of our surroundings. What’s the big deal? Our behavior should be comforting for others to know that if something is to go awry, we will be able to swoop in and save the day.


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