Falling asleep behind the wheel is simply unacceptable, but feeling sleepy while driving is even not less dangerous, either. Drowsy driving may cause your death or that of others on the road.
Risk is always there on the road, but your drowsy driving confirms it for you. Follow our guide and freshen up yourself to be a safe driver. Drive alert, arrive safely.
The question is how to avoid it. Following is the ultimate solution guide for sleepy drivers.
Were you aware of these facts and figures?
Drowsiness causes you:
- To be less able to pay full attention to all around especially the road ahead.
- To take a longer reaction time in case you have to steer or apply brakes suddenly.
- Not to be able to take the right decision promptly.
Some alarming stats:
It has been reported that nearly 83.6 million drowsy people are there in their workplace, at schools or driving on the roads on a daily basis. Despite the fact that drowsy driving is always said to be underreported, as per NHTSA reports, for a period between 2009 to 2013, there has been reported to police over 72000 crashes with tired drivers involved every time.
Moreover, during 2018, the casualties involving drowsy drivers were reported to be 775 out of the total 36905 meaning 2.1 percent. Estimation of 6000 fatal crashes caused by sleepy drivers every year is beside.
Common Causes of Falling Asleep While Driving
The following social and medical causes may attribute to the need to fall asleep during driving.
1. Chronic Sleep Deprivation:
Out of so many reasons like long job hours, part-time additional jobs, lifestyle choices, family or other social responsibilities, a lot of people are unable to sleep from 7 to 9 hours at night.
2. High Alcoholic Intake:
Alcoholic intake more than usual and other medicines, like tranquilizers, may also cause severe drowsiness.
3. Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS):
2.5% to 20% of the drivers often suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness or EDS and tend to sleep during driving.
4. Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (SAS):
This syndrome where breathing stops and starts repeatedly has been reported as a major cause of drowsy driving. Its patients are said to have 6 times more chances to meet a crash.
5. Certain Sleeping Disorders:
Chronic insomnia, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, and periodic limb movement are also considered to be responsible for sleepiness.
6. Other Diseases Associated With Sleepiness:
Drowsiness has also been associated with Parkinson’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, chronic cardiac disorders and people having complex internal health problems.
7. Certain Drugs:
A daily or occasional or single intake of drugs (benzodiazepines, antidepressants, antihistaminics, antipsychotics, and others) can itself cause sleep problems.
The frequency of drivers falling asleep while driving
In a recent survey conducted in 19 American states, 150000 persons were asked various questions. The result was:
- 4% admitted to having fallen asleep while sleeping once in around a month.
- Those who slept for 6 hours or even less were reported to have fallen asleep while driving.
What are the related signs?
Knowing the signs of drowsy driving helps a lot in avoiding or controlling them. So, make a good note of the following and try your best to avoid them.
- Too much frequent blinking or yawning with heavy eyelids.
- Unable to remember clearly the past few miles traveled.
- Trying to change the lane abruptly.
- Forgetting and missing traffic signs or exits.
- Finding it difficult to keep your head up.
- Feeling restlessness and irritation.
How to overcome the issue?
The main thing is how to combat drowsiness permanently. Stick to the following tips and hit the target.
Things to do:
- The most important and effective of all the tips is to make a sound and uninterrupted sleep for at least 7—9 hours. There must be a completely peaceful environment devoid of any kind of piercing light or noise.
- Try your best to follow a set routine for your daily sleep. Your sleeping and awaking times should be approximately the same every day including the weekends.
- Try to take light meals when going to bed shortly afterward.
- When on long trips, keep yourself involved in your driving and try not to use cruise control. Try your best not to travel alone. Also, make it possible that you share driving with your partner every 2 to 3 hours.
- If you are driving alone on a long trip, stop after every 2 hours at a roadside resting area. Take a light exercise or a nap for at least 20 minutes before you hit the road again.
- Keep listening to lively music on the way. If you have other passengers with you, keep conversing with them to kill monotony. Always stay fresh and cool under the pressure of long driving.
- Be watchful about your posture. Slouching or staying long with the same posture brings sleepiness. So, keep shifting it from time to time.
- Take something containing caffeine like tea or coffee before you start driving. It will keep you alert for hours to come.
Things not to do:
- Do not drive for long hours during the night, especially between midnight and 6 a.m. This is because the cardiac rhythm of your body does not allow you to keep fully alert due to the intense drowsiness during these hours.
- Never take alcohol or any other medicine that causes you drowsiness before you sit behind the wheel to drive.
- Never be over speedy or rushing or a risk-taking driver on the road. Better arrive late than never.
An alert driver is the best first for himself and then for all others.