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Falling Asleep Driving
If you fall asleep while driving, it can be a very dangerous situation. You can experience this as dozing off at traffic lights or falling asleep in stop and go traffic or even fall asleep momentarily even when driving fast, especially if the motorway / freeway is monotonous. It can even lead to serious accidents. It is particularly dangerous when you have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or are suffering from sleep deprivation. So, you should pull over if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Here are some tips for keeping awake while driving.
Tips To Stay Awake
– Stay away from caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant, but the effects of caffeine may make you fall asleep while driving. Caffeine will also cause you to pee more frequently. Try to avoid caffeine when driving, as it can cause diuresis and increase your risk of accident. Avoid using cell phones while driving, it’s illegal in most jurisdictions.
– Get plenty of sleep. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 90,000 traffic accidents occur each year because of sleepiness or fatigue. This causes tens of thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths. Despite its deadly effects, fall-asleep driving has not yet been as widely publicized as drunk or drugged driving. In fact, a recent study conducted by the CDC indicated that one-third of adults in the U.S. regularly receive less than seven hours of sleep per night. This causes motor and cognitive functions to deteriorate.
– Studies have shown that people with untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have a significantly higher risk of traffic accidents. This means that fall asleep driving may be a contributing factor in crash statistics. As a result, you should avoid drowsy driving altogether when you suffer from this condition. There is a direct correlation between sleepiness and crashes. This study is the first to prove that the effect of sleepiness on driving is a major risk factor in traffic accidents. UK statistics suggest that as many as 20% of road traffic crashes are caused by fatigue.
A brief microsleep (up to five seconds) is life-threatening, and can be fatal when the driver is traveling 65 mph. Even a few seconds of unconsciousness can lead to an uncontrolled 150-yard journey. In addition, excessive head-on and rear-end collisions have been linked to drivers falling asleep while driving. This may be one of the main contributing factors in vehicle accidents. But there are still many ways that you can reduce the risk of falling asleep while driving.
Tips To Reduce Your Risk
– Make sure to get plenty of rest. Sleep deprivation has several negative effects on the human body. For one, it can lead to sleep debt, a condition whereby you do not get enough sleep. This cannot be made up by sleeping in at the weekend, often it may take months of good sleeping nights to pay back a sleep debt. Falling asleep at the wheel while driving impairs your reflexes and cognitive functions. These functions are needed to keep the car in its lane. Also, falling asleep while driving will affect your reaction time and braking ability, and will significantly increase your risk of being involved in a crash.
To prevent falling asleep while driving, take short-term precautions. Try to get some fresh air, take a nap, or visit a rest area if you feel sleepy. In addition, try to drink a cup of coffee before driving. You may even want to grab a snack to eat while you’re driving. If you’re prone to falling asleep while driving, consider hiring a cab or carpool with someone who has a designated driver.
If you’re going to drive at night, avoid taking sedatives or caffeine-containing drinks the night before. Try to stay alert by getting fresh air. You can also switch on the radio or open the windows. Lastly, try to stick to the same sleep schedule every night. By doing this, you’ll be much less likely to fall asleep while driving. Once you’re asleep, it’s too late to avoid accidents!