Nodding Off At The Wheel? Here Are Some Simple Remedies For A Safer Drive
Whether it’s early in the morning, when the sun is at its brightest in the afternoon, or after a long hard day at work, drivers can suffer from nodding off at the wheel. Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of accidents in Malaysia, points out leading medical practitioner, Lt Col (Rtd) Dr Meer Ahmad Mydin Meera.
“Even drivers who are well-rested and had a good night's sleep can experience uncontrollable somnolence, leading to lethargy, weakness and lack of mental agility, resulting in dozing while driving,” he said.
Dr Meer cited a Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) survey which revealed that 114,151 people were killed in traffic accidents from 1997 to 2014, which averages out to 6,341 fatalities annually, over the 18-year period.
“People will try to fight through fatigue and it puts everyone at risk,” said Ronald Knipling, author of “Safety for the Long Haul” a comprehensive textbook embraced by the trucking industry. “Self-awareness is the real issue.”
Drivers can’t have the mindset of powering through the fatigue, because there’s simply no fighting human physiology, Knipling said.
“There are challenges associated with both measuring and combating drowsy driving,” Jonathan Adkins, Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) executive director, said in a statement. “Law enforcement lack protocols and training to help officers recognize drowsy driving at roadside. And if a crash occurs, the drowsy driver may not report the cause due to concerns about monetary and other penalties.” GHSA is a nonprofit organization representing state highway safety offices in the United States.
Here’s what you can do to prevent or combat drowsiness when you’re driving.
1. A healthier lifestyle
A healthier lifestyle works wonders for alertness. A balanced diet and sufficient sleep are major contributors in reducing driver fatigue and make you a more alert driver.
2. Don’t fight exhaustion, take a quick nap
A nap is the best quick fix, but make sure your power nap doesn’t go beyond 20 or 30 minutes. You should nap in a safe place like a designated rest area or a well-lit parking lot.
3. Do some light exercises to get your heart rate up
If you’re feeling drowsy, pull over and do some light cardio exercise in to get the blood pumping. You can also drink a caffeinated drink to keep yourself alert.
4. Use bright lights
It’s discovered that exposure to bright light can also reinvigorate you. Take a walk in the sunlight. If it’s night, drink a cup of coffee in a brightly lit restaurant.
Remember, it’s not safe to drive while your eyelids are drooping. Keep these tips under wraps and remember them for the next long haul drive you have. Keep safe on the roads!
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