Wide publicity is available about the effects of alcohol on driving. Another lesser known evil is driving while feeling drowsy. Most of us think it is OK to drive while feeling drowsy. A cup of coffee and washing your face may make you feel temporarily refreshed. Unfortunately, a drowsy driver is an accident waiting to happen. He is not only a menace to himself; he is also a menace to the general public.
The consequences of drowsy driving are serious. All it needs is to fall asleep for a second or two. You can lose control of the vehicle. This could leave you seriously injured or even dead. What is more, you may hit another vehicle and cause injuries to others, who, for no fault of theirs, have to pay the price for your drowsy driving.
Most such accidents occur when the driver is alone. At the site of the accident, there will be no tire marks or evidence of any evasive maneuver. Currently, there are no definitive tests to determine if the accident was caused due to drowsiness. This presents a challenge to the Police to device a foolproof training method to detect that the accident was caused by drowsy driving.
Authorities are slowly waking up to the magnitude of the problem. Several states are contemplating making laws to penalize drivers, who drive while drowsy, with criminal negligence. This will have a salutary effect on those who knowingly do so.
The best strategy to combat drowsiness while driving is:
- Get plenty of rest daily. Sleep deprivation causes drowsiness
- Make sure you leave early to reach your intended destination. This way you will have plenty of time to take needed breaks. If the journey is long, stop and stretch your legs once in a way. If it is a very long journey, plan an overnight halt
- Try to drive during the hours you are normally awake. Avoid early morning and late night driving
- Take turns to drive. It is best you drive long distances with at least one more person. As soon as you are tired let the other person spell you
- When you feel tired, check into a hotel. Do not try the caffeine and face wash routine
- If you are alone and feel sleepy, do not hesitate to call your spouse or friend for assistance or pull off in a safe area and snooze for 30 minutes. It will refresh you.
Safety on the road is paramount – not only for you but also for your loved ones and the general public. Do NOT drive when you feel drowsy.