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Old 29th December 2016, 10:00   #106
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

I have my own ways of preventing this:
1) I never do long drives between 11pm and 5am. That time period is meant for sleeping and not driving.
2) I always carry a set of my favorite songs with me when i am driving alone. I play FM radio till I am in the signal range and once i am out of it, I switch to my favorite melodious music to keep me awake.
3) Having a cup of Coffee/Tea helps.
4) Try a quick nap of 5-10 minutes. Wash your face. Do a quick walk of few steps to stretch your muscles. Come back and resume the driving.

I had to face sleepiness problems 2-3 times.
Once it was an early morning drive and I was feeling so sleepy at 7am that I had to stop on the highway ( I had actually started the journey at 6 am). I was alone. I stopped the car, washed my face, walked for 1-2 meters, stood there for 1-2 minutes, and came back and resumed driving. In another case, I had to stop at a CoffeeDay outlet on the highway to have a cup of coffee to get rid of this problem.

But two months back there was another case where I couldnt control sleep after having lunch at a hotel on the highway. When nothing worked, I pulled over to the side of the road and had a quick nap of 10-12 minutes. Got up, washed my face, walked few steps to stretch my muscles, got into the car and resumed my journey.
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Old 29th December 2016, 14:11   #107
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Hey guys!

While browsing through facebook today, I saw an interesting bunch of hard hitting poster advertisements shared by a friend, some of them concerning driving when drowsy/sleepy and few others on general road safety.

This was taken from an FB page - "Library of most controversial files". Sharing them here for everyone's benefit. All picture credits to respective owners.

"Sleepiness is stronger than you think"

Name:  Sleepiess is stronger than you.png
Views: 1229
Size:  679.9 KB

The following pictures are on general road safety. I'm posting them here anyway. Mods, please move it elsewhere if it would not fit in with this thread.

"One click could change your life. Belt up"

Name:  one click could change your life . belt up.png
Views: 1226
Size:  297.7 KB

Name:  Team bhp 2.png
Views: 1222
Size:  346.5 KB

"Think of both sides"

Name:  Think of both sides.png
Views: 1249
Size:  356.5 KB

"Tailgating isnt worth it"

Name:  Team bhp 1.png
Views: 1218
Size:  225.7 KB

"Dont talk while he drives"

Name:  Dont talk while he drives.png
Views: 1225
Size:  429.1 KB

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and these sure do hit home hard.

Drive safe!
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Old 30th December 2016, 17:56   #108
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Ideally, we should avoid heavy lunch or dinner (especially rice items) before long distance driving. Since there is no body movement, we tend to sleep.

I have seen my cab drivers sticking their head out of the window to get fresh air or increasing the speed so that your adrenaline kicks in and your sleep vanishes.

One of my recent drives to Davangere, due to lack of sleep (night shift you know) and a heavy breakfast just made me drowsy almost instantly on the drive. Speeding up did the trick. You need to be really cautious when you do this or rather stop and take a quick power nap.

To avoid snoozing while driving one needs to have a happy stomach (do not stuff and avoid rice items), drink plenty of water and profusely stop for quick breaks.
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Old 30th December 2016, 19:52   #109
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

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Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
I have found that having an ice-cream helps (with fruits is even better). Its loaded with Sugar, and Sugar gives an instant boost to your attention level (sugar spike).
Fruits are good, especially apples (and to an extent grapes). However sugar spike has a negative effect, once it subsides (usually about 1/2 to 1 hr) you'll find yourself all the more sleepy. Same applies to caffiene as well.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 15:09   #110
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Very informative thread

I always follow the following things which worked for me every time I hit the road.

1. Get a sound sleep of minimum 8-9 hours a day before I leave. If I have to leave home by 4 AM, I try to hit the bed at least by 8 PM the previous day.

2. I try to leave home around 3 - 4 am. This is the time when traffic is the thinnest around Mumbai. A relatively early start and less traffic means I can cover more distance fuss free. I picked up this tip from HV Kumar sir and it has helped me immensely. A 3 AM start from Mumbai means that I can cross Kolhapur by 9 AM. By doing this, I beat the 2 wheeler, bullock cart and wrong side traffic in Maharashtra and enter Karnataka before traffic thickens up. Even with sufficient breaks for breakfast, lunch, power naps and nature's call, I reach Bengaluru around 8-9 PM.

3. Red bull has really never worked for me. I always much on fruits and drink a lot of water / Electral which keeps me hydrated. Not to forget the cutting chai or a hot cuppa coffee. When I am on road, I usually avoid heavy meals and stick to smaller portions of food. To compensate the hunger, I have lot of fruits and salad.

4. Golden rule: Whenever I feel slightest of fatigue, I park the car at a safe place ( COCO petrol pumps, food courts, or any restaurant which is on the highway and is crowded) and take a power nap. Trust me, it works wonders. Even if you get a small nap of 10 - 15 minutes, you feel refreshed. Another tip

5. If I am going towards north (Shimla, Manali, Nainital etc), My first stop usually is Jaipur. In this case, I leave at 12 midnight and reach Jaipur by 8 - 9 PM the next day (18 - 20 hours). I usually check-in at a hotel which is in Jaipur city but is close to the bypass so that can leave by 4 - 5 AM next morning and cross Delhi around 8 - 9 AM to beat the traffic. For a midnight start, I ensure that I sleep for at least 3 - 4 hours in the afternoon. An early start with sufficient sleep gives me a good chance to clear areas which would be otherwise congested during the day-time. This way, I cover Mumbai - Nainital or Mumbai - Shimla in a span of 2 days.

6. For trips down south, I stick to 3 AM start and try to reach Hosur instead of Bengaluru because the hotels are comparatively cheaper and I have a lot of options on the highway to choose from.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 15:43   #111
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Very informative thread on how to avoid drowsiness! Almost every aspect is covered on what to do when feeling drowsy while driving.

Usually, to avoid drowsiness while driving (Whether night drive OR day driving), I will plan the rest points on Maps(in GPS) before starting the driving. Usually these points will be apart by 1.5 to 2 hours. Since the GPS continuously displays the distance between next rest point and current location, brain will be striving to reach the next rest point. This avoids the brain from going to passive mode(Or drowsiness mode)
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Old 3rd January 2017, 16:40   #112
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Great thread. Very important. I once was ferrying family from Bangalore to Chennai late in the night(~11:00pm), when I could feel heavy drowsiness. I thought I will go on and reach Chennai(1 hour away), had dozed off, when I suddenly 'felt' (rather than saw) a light blinking in the RVM. Upon opening my eyes, I saw a Volvo bus a couple of feet behind my boot and the driver blinking his headlights like mad, urging me to make way - the usual way aggressive drivers do on Indian drivers. Thankfully I did not brake in panic !

In my case what works are:
It is not enough to wash your face; wash the back of your neck and upper back. It perks one up better.
Sing loudly when feeling drowsy; it works to some extent(provided co-passengers can tolerate the singing)
I used to believe that trying to drive fast and competing with any random driver gives that adrenaline rush and helps drive away sleep. But I am so wrong and will definitely not suggest this.
Foods to avoid - Dosa and Pongal - these are guaranteed to put one to sleep

Last edited by HighwayBuddha : 3rd January 2017 at 16:43.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 17:44   #113
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

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Originally Posted by Sabareesh View Post
2. I try to leave home around 3 - 4 am. This is the time when traffic is the thinnest around Mumbai. A relatively early start and less traffic means I can cover more distance fuss free.
Regardless of your sleeping at 8 your body is going to be the least alert from 2 to 4 AM. Try to start 4 am and onwards but preferably not earlier.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 19:02   #114
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

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......Speeding up did the trick.........
Please don't do that again, no matter how cautious you believe you were while doing it.

Caution is a conscious feeling, and no help once you begin to doze off. Best to stop and snooze than try to fight off sleep with fresh air, water or exercise. Sleep wins in the end, and you could lose a LOT by fighting it.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 3rd January 2017 at 19:03.
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Old 3rd January 2017, 20:19   #115
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

For me, the choice of food doesn't have any impact. I have routinely driven at sedate speeds while feeling drowsy - It starts with a feeling of tiredness, followed by an occasional yawn, then the frequency of yawning increases, and then your eyelids become heavy. Many times I keep yawning but I am perfectly awake and alert. It's the heavy eyelids that's the killer.

What has worked for me is munching on something. Chocolates are a great way to refresh you - at a pinch, anything else would work. I have tried peanuts, imli goli and whatnot (except cough drops - they might work wonders!)

I have tried listening to songs and found it often has the opposite effect - especially at night when radio stations are playing melody/soft music. If the radio station is playing less music and more talking by the RJ, that might help - hearing another person's voice should help stay awake.

I have tried singing too, but after a while the yawns start interrupting the songs and I have to drop it.

Talking to another person works wonders, but the talk must be about things not routine. And if you are alone, this is not possible.

And when even all that fails, I just try to pull up somewhere safe and get a small nap (after informing the passengers that it's better I sleep for a while than all of us sleeping forever - and they have been understanding so far).

PS: I once had my wife pinch me at every 15 minutes to make sure I was awake. This was on my really really long drives around 7 to 8 years back - evening 4 till early morning 2:30.
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Old 6th January 2017, 07:47   #116
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

I drove last month from Kottayam to Bangalore in the night. We had our daughters birthday party on sunday afternoon, so with the prep and the party and the after-party, we were ready to leave only by 6 pm. I'm not sure why, but the roads in kerala were empty to an extent (Due to the ISL final maybe). I reached my in-laws, 90kms away by 8pm, had a light dinner and then started at 9pm. The traffic was sparse and we had a quiet uneventful ride throughout.

For a long time, I was feeling sleepy on the avinashi-salem stretch. I started looking for a median to get on to the service road, so that I could rest for a while. Even while looking for a median, I started to doze, so much so that I almost rear ended an Auto going on the middle lane at 40kmph. Shaken, I thankfully found the break in the road . Since I had my baby, my wife & her female friend with me, I left the engine running with A/C on and door locked. Pushing my seat back on full recline, I curled up with a pillow on the drivers seat. Time : 0100 Hrs. With the idling shifts of the A/c cutting on and off, I thought I would not get any sleep.

Next thing I remember is jumping up with a gasp and grabbing the steering wheel. I was feeling horrified that I was driving in my sleep. For a minute my face was like this . I looked at the clock. Time: 0130 Hrs. It slowly dawned on me that I must have been dreaming. I had slept for half an hour and hadn't even realized it. Started driving soon afterwards, taking multiple breaks for hot sweet black tea and washing my face.

Like that drinking binge which makes you swear off drinking for a month or two, this kind of experiences (of tiredness, risky driving) has left me wary of night trips. But I know I will be back to this soon, because will need to travel at night to conserve leaves from office. Only way to manage for me is to take power-naps when possible.
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Old 14th January 2017, 17:42   #117
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Immaterial of when you decide to drive, a tired body and mind will never be alert. Technically, the worst time to drive would be between 0100 - 0400 hrs. Avoid driving at those times. Have seen one of the worst accidents happen, and have lost a family member in another that took place due to microsleep. Just pull your vehicle over well away from the highway not to chance anyone ramming you (one casualty experienced that way too), let the vehicle keep running with the parking lamps ON, keep vehicle locked, have a nap, and then proceed later!
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Old 14th January 2017, 18:15   #118
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

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let the vehicle keep running with the parking lamps ON, keep vehicle locked, have a nap, and then proceed later!
You don't need to have your engine running to have the parking lamps on, thank god.

Please never fall asleep in a parked vehicle with the engine (say for the AC) running - accidental death from carbon monoxide inhalation is not a pretty thing to witness.

Try to pull over to a roadside hotel or something of the sort and check in there.
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Old 14th January 2017, 18:19   #119
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

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You don't need to have your engine running to have the parking lamps on, thank god.

Please never fall asleep in a parked vehicle with the engine (say for the AC) running - accidental death from carbon monoxide inhalation is not a pretty thing to witness.

Try to pull over to a roadside hotel or something of the sort and check in there.


1. Carbon Monoxide poisoning occurs when you are parked in a confined space where the AC inlet sucks in the fumes.
2. When you have no other option, the roadside is the only way out!
3. Given most Indian conditions of heat and humidity, and the mosquito/insect threat leading to malaria like diseases, keeping windows closed and AC ON is a better option as experienced.
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Old 14th January 2017, 19:01   #120
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Default Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Just "less risk" of getting CO poisoning. For example when you drive for a longish period with the car AC set to recirculation mode, there's a slow accumulation besides the air getting stale. So the usual recommendation is to turn the AC to fresh air mode at least periodically when on a highway drive.

The tailpipe can get blocked because of any number of reasons (eg: snow if you're driving in the himalayas say a ladakh trip) and that would speed up the process - but even in the Gulf the cops have official recommendations not to sleep in a car with the engine running.
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