I had not seen her at the gym for a long time and when I asked her why she told me that it was because her husband had met with an accident and was in hospital. The cause of the accident the driver of the cab he was travelling in had fallen asleep at the wheel. Now this made me remember a similar situation when I was coming home from the airport at four in the morning just a couple of weeks back. I noticed that the car was slowing down in the middle of the road. When I looked at the driver I realized he was sleeping at the wheel. I offered to take the wheel but the driver said he could manage. But till we arrived at our destination it was a nail biting drive for me. I was constantly looking into his face and am sure he fell asleep at least three times during the remaining stretch of driving. Sadly there are no rules governing how many hours cab drivers should drive at a stretch without rest. Or any heavy vehicle driver for that matter. I wonder if you remember the disastrous accident which happened down south when a driver of a huge containing carrying beer fell asleep at the wheel and a lot of people lost their lives in the mega crash which resulted?
Even I have fallen asleep at the wheel once and knocked down a man once. Fortunately he did not die otherwise I would have ended up in prison. Only after this happened that I realized that you cannot deny your body sleep however much you try.
I was reading that falling asleep while driving can be equally dangerous and deadly as drunken driving. If I feel sleepy while I am driving these days what I do is pull over and take a nap. Most of the time all you need is a couple of minutes sleep. And you are right as rain again. For the benefit of those who read this I am copying a helpful article I found on how to avoid falling asleep. Don’t wait till it happens to you because it could be too late.
Some helpful hints:
· No Sleep Debt: Before a long or nighttime drive, be sure that you have had several nights (in a row) of 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Plan on setting aside this time before you leave.
· Take Breaks: Taking a break during your drive will allow you to stretch, move and wake up. Plan for breaks and even a quick 20-minute nap.
· Arrive by Midnight: The time between midnight and early morning is when our body most wants to be sleeping. This is the most dangerous time to be driving in respect to sleep.
· Know the Warning Signs: If you are yawning constantly, can’t remember the last few moments of driving or cannot keep your eyes focused, pull over and take a quick nap.
What Not To Do
Many people think that opening the window, playing loud music or talking on the phone will help you stay awake. These are, in fact, dangerous thing to do because:
· They distract you from driving at a time when you need to concentrate.
· They give you a false sense of security and keep you on the road when you should stop.
Instead of using tricks, pull over and take a quick nap.