Tips

Asleep at the Wheel

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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 or Fatigued?

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. Ive had to drive back from events where I thought I was perfectly awake, as Id drive down the highway Id 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 waste 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.

Here are some other ideas to do to fend off drowsiness? One sure to work:

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CarParts.com

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In the Garage with CarParts.com is an online blog dedicated to bringing DIYers and devoted car enthusiasts up to date with topical automotive news and lifestyle content. Our writers live and breathe automotive, taking the guess work out of car repairs with how-to content that helps owners get back on the road and keep driving.

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