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Tips to avoid falling
asleep at the wheel

 (Excerpt from Reader’s Digest  June 1994)

First you know you are sleep deprived and vulnerable to falling asleep at the wheel when:

  •  You struggle against fatigue throughout the day nearly everyday.

  • You depend on caffeine (or other stimulants) to keep you alert all day
  • You suffer memory lapses
  • If you stop to rest during the day you fall asleep within 5 minutes
  • You are irritable and argumentative, and don’t know why.
  • You need an alarm to wake you up at the same time every morning (well rested people are awakened by their biological clock about when the alarm would go off)

Here are some tips offered by Biological Psychologist David Dinges to ensure a safe drive;

  1. Get plenty of sleep: Doctors recommend at least 8 hours a night. If you can’t get that much, play catch up on the week ends. Unless you’ve stored sleep, it’s difficult-often impossible to fight your biological clock.
  2. Take breaks. For long trips stop at least every two hours. Stretch, exercise and grab a nutritious snack. Avoid heavy meals and too much caffeine. If possible switch drivers frequently.
  3. Don’t get to comfortable: Do without cruise control and open the windows to maintain maximum alertness.
  4. Don’t drink: Fatigue intensifies the intoxicating effects of alcohol, so avoid drinking
  5. Stop driving. Get off the road at the first sign of drowsiness. At night get off the highway completely. Pulling onto the shoulder invites rear-end collisions: drunken and fatigued drivers frequently plow into stopped cars when they follow the taillights of the car ahead of them.
  6. Stay Alert:  Avoid driving a car full of sleepy passengers. A “designated companion” should stay awake to keep you alert.

If you’ve ever been driving and realized you could not remember what happened a few moments before, you may have experienced “micro sleep”, a one to 15 second loss of awareness. Micro sleep is a clear warning that you need to get off the road immediately. Your next lapse could be your last!

 SAV-A-LIFE’s recommendation:

 Have a Doze–Alert as a friendly companion, above all if you are driving alone. Doze-Alert can help save your life by letting you know that you are dozing off! Time to get off the road immediately!




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