Distracted Driving Or Sleeping While Driving Can Be Disastrous!

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This morning a Pakwheel community members Mr. Jamshed Jadoon shared a dash-cam video while he was travelling early morning on Peshawar-Islamabad M1 motorway. The video clip recorded a very nasty event. A 9th generation Honda Civic drifts from right lane to middle lane and then move back to right lane and moments later crash on the right side curb on the shoulder. Being at motorway speed of above 100km/h the impact was enough to roll over the car.

As per Mr. Jadoon, who was following the car  stopped and helped the driver come out of the car. Fortunately the driver was restrained in seat belt and had very minor injuries. Mr.  Jadoon mentioned that the driver slept while driving which resulted in this crash.

[ Time & Date Stamp as appear on video are not accurate ]

This video can help us understand that how dangerous this can be if you pass out/faint/doze-off behind the wheel.  I am sure everyone has seen a torture procedure in movies. The culprit is sitting under a light bulb and he is not allowed to sleepSleep deprivation is one of the most effective interrogation techniques. So why I am talking about it?  The reason is that sleeplessness is very very dangerous. And this becomes of prime importance when you are driving and on the road. Dozing off behind the steering wheel is one of the major killer on our roads and around the globe.

If I use simple math ; If you are driving at 100km/h; shutting down your eyes for one second means, you covered almost 92 feet in that one second without even realizing what you covered. Your car is around 15 feet in length. Its very easy to visualize the danger.

Most of us try to over estimate our abilities and all together underestimate our fatigue and this results in a crash. Just before the sleep overcome you, you are in stage 1 of sleep. This is time when you think you are awake, eyes are open but in reality brain waves are slowing, and the body is relaxing in preparation for deeper sleep. In this stage your reflexes and responses are slowing down to a major percentage. Immediately after this stage eyes shut down and you go in deep sleep mode.

So,

  • Be well rested before you head out and sit at driving seat. Especially driving through the night, mid-afternoon or when you would normally be asleep.
  • On longer journey, always stop and take breaks. Have a 10 minutes walk and get fresh.
  • When you start day-dreaming, yawning, difficulty focusing, frequent blinking stop immediately.These are signs that you need rest.
  • You should keep your windows slightly open so that fresh air circulates within the car. This is particularly important in winters when heating within the car make driver doze off.
  • Its always recommend you travel with companion on long routes.
  • And your front seat passenger should try not to sleep as it will influence driver indirectly to go in sleep mode as well.
  • If you take sedative medicines or even the cough / flu medication have sedative action means these can make you feel asleep. Don’t drive at all under such situations.
  • Always get good night sleep, you can fell asleep on your regular commute within city as well. Drowsiness is not just associated with late night driving. It can attack you any time of day. So if you think you can’t get drowsy; you are making a big mistake.
  • Statistically , many driver fall asleep and crash on motorways. So be very alert as you are already at very high speeds and slight distraction can be fatal. Stopping at service area for few minutes is much much better than driving drowsy.
  • Now the biggest misconception; Caffeine in form of Tea, coffee or use of any energy drinks can make you alert but it will be for very short period of time and MUST not be taken as to overcome you sleep / drowsiness behind the wheel. Too much of these liquids/ sodas can always negatively effect your reflexes and the way your brain respond. So, Tea, Coffee should not be taken as a way to replace rest / sleep.
  • Most importantly, all passengers including rear seat, must be restrained and use seat belts, no matter its even a small journey.

Remember: “You snooze – You lose” drive alert – arrive alive

Discuss at Pakwheels.com Forum here > Danger of Drowsy Driving

Fazal Wahab

I am Civil Engineer by Profession and have love for High Rise Towers, Underground construction and Carbon Fiber Composites, automobiles is my first love. Its my passion to know and share about anything new in automobile industry.

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