Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What drowsy drivers do to remain alert

Driving drowsy is a big problem, and a discussion I have with my patients every day. Studies have shown that driving drowsy can be as dangerous as driving drunk. And the combination of alcohol with sleep deprivation is extremely dangerous. When I ask my patients what they do if they feel sleepy while driving, most tell me they do things that studies have shown are not helpful. Examples include rolling down the windows or turning the radio up. The first thing that I say is that if the patient feels sleepy, they should not drive or operate heavy machinery until they feel rested and wide awake. I then explain to them that if they get sleepy while driving, they should switch drivers or pull over to take a nap.

Here is a report on the top things drivers do to remain alert while driving. I got this information from a survey done by DMEautomotive. Some notable responses to what drivers do when they feel sleepy while driving include:

58% drink caffeine (not shown to be helpful)
39% open a sunroof or window (not shown to be helpful)
45% switch drivers (has been shown to be helpful IF the other driver is rested!)
23% pull over and take a nap (this is the THE most helpful thing a drowsy driver can do!)

As stated in the article, the best course of action for drowsy drivers is to pull over and take a nap. The only cure for sleepiness is more sleep! Please be safe on the road.

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