Have you ever nodded off while driving only to be
woken up by the edge of the road or even worse, hitting a road
barrier or shooting off a curve into a ravine with no skid marks.
Police are seeing more cases like this - it’s attributed to falling
asleep at the wheel. Research shows the chances are greater that you
will fall asleep at the wheel and that an incident could occur in
the early morning and most likely when the driver is an hour or so
short of home. Police say that most people often succumb to
drowsiness while driving. These people also tend to party the
heartiest, push the limits, and try to push through sleep
deprivation to get home before it's time to go to work. The easy
answer for these types of people is to not start a long or short
drive while tired, and don’t continue it when drowsiness sets in.
Are you tired
Sleepiness and fatigue is not exclusive to drivers with inadequate
sleep. Long, dull roads and sitting in one position for long hours
is draining. The lack of varied stimulants on wide, endless highways
is also a factor. Certain cars bestow a hum or flat noise that can
put you to sleep at the wheel. I’ve had to drive back from events
where I thought I was perfectly awake, as I’d drive down the highway
I’d suddenly get drowsy, no matter what I would do, within an hour
my body seemed to just want to force my eyelids closed and start my
head nodding. You could choose to drive over the speed limit or seek
an alternative route that is less constant in nature and more
demanding of attention. Driving faster sounds like fun but it can
earn you a nice ticket or even an accident for other reasons. Taking
the longer path may just waster time too. Personally I have found
that listening to books on tape, talking on the phone (of course
with a hands free device) and stopping every 2 hours at maximum
works best. But if you are really tired - get a room and get some
sleep. Resting in your car on the side of the road or at a rest area
can be dangerous - especially if you have a leaky exhaust system.
The Bottom Line
If you insist on driving anyway, if you have even a fleeting moment
of hallucinating, or realizing that you are at the edge of being
asleep at the wheel. You can kill or be killed. Stop and do
something about the situation.
are some other ideas to do to fend off drowsiness? One sure to work:
on an active conversation with a passenger.
to whatever involves you more on the radio — a talk show you can
shout back at or music you can sing and tap along to while driving.
Be alert to elevator music or music that makes you want to relax.
the interior climate a little on the chilly side. If the air get to
warms it will give you the nods.
on something that is noisy, such as raw carrots, celery sticks, pork
rinds or something a little spicy.
Everyone thinks that the caffeine in coffee, cola or tea will work,
but it will only work for a short period of time.
an active break. Get out of the car and trot around for a few
minutes. Stretch or do a few jumping jacks.
drivers frequently, if you have someone with you.
only sure thing is to stop and go to sleep, be sure to find a motel.
If catnaps work for you, take a 10- to 20-minute snooze in the car
with the doors locked. Just make sure to drive safely.