Avoiding Drowsy Driving
According to US government estimates (2008 numbers), drowsy driving causes 2.7 vehicular crashes per 100 million miles traveled.
How can you avoid becoming a drowsy driver? There are a number of measures you can take to reduce the risk to yourself and others.
Many people believe they have a cure for drowsy driving. Some say caffeine will keep them going. Others employ tricks such as having a cigarette when they get tired, opening the window, or turning the radio up. None of these are real cures. They may do more harm than good, giving you a false sense of security.
Caffeine, while able to mitigate the effects of sleepiness, takes some time to kick in. If you are already tired when you first drink it, it may not help in time. Also, if you are a regular coffee or soda drinker, the effect will likely be much smaller and will not last as long as you think.
While taking in some nicotine can give a slight improvement in driving performance for a short time, the effects are not enough to overcome sleepiness.
Many believe distractions will help them stay awake so they turn the radio up loud or open a window, hoping the rush of wind will keep them awake. Once again, these will have a short-term effect, but a tired body is still a tired body.
Some people have looked to the commercial market for cures to drowsy driving. There are some inventions that are claimed to help by sending off an alarm when you start to doze off. The problem is, by this point, you have already lost control of the car, and the alarm could be too little, too late. In this area, the most effective way to make people wake up when they fall asleep at the wheel is the rumble strip on the side of the road. If you have swerved far enough to the side of the road to hit these and have been suddenly jarred awake, it’s time to pull over and take a nap.