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Old 24th November 2005, 08:50   #1
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Default Fatigue Kills!!!

Hey everyone,

Recently i took a drive to Goa...and after having experienced the last drive with teambhp i was expecting a pretty much exhillarating drive once again. I was going to follow the normal goa highway and the drive was expected to be uneventful, but there was something else waiting for me in store this time...

Night before departure...23 October 2005

I have barely slept for 2 hours...been preparing for an exam in college the next day. Next morning im up at 5.30am and heading for college by about 6.30.

It was supposed to be a 600km drive to be done in around 10-11hrs...but that was only possible if I started early morning at 6am...but due to college I was forced to start at 2pm...finally got out of Mumbai around 4.30pm...damn the traffic was bad that day.

As we all know, night driving in India is not one the safest things to do especially on highways which are mostly unlit and oncoming traffic can be blinding especially with these buggers driving on high beams all the time no matter what. Lorries and ST busses are the worst. Some areas which I would pass through are pretty remote which was unsafe and especially at night...and to add to my worries there was no cellphone reception at some places which I shall realise a little later on.

So finally me and 3 friends are off for our holiday...a little late but what the heck as long as we were on the road it was fine (3 others would join us at the destination the next day, they decide to take the train...wise decision)...we all needed this vacation.

We cover about 200kms in about 3 hours....

Time 7.30pm 24th October 2005
We make our first stop for coffee and a light dinner at Mahad (Visava)...already last nights sleep deprivation was showing its affects. I did think for a moment to stop for the night but we had our hotel bookings done already and it was a bit too late to change them now and also that I didn’t want to waste any more time.

So after about spending an hour there we hit the road again...next stop would be only at 11.30pm. Even though it had become dark...we managed to cover about 300kms but I was flooring her in some sections of the mountains wheels spinning in 3rd gear...diesel torque rules in the mountains. Pete’s box showing its magic here.

I have just overtaken a convoy of vehicles from a political party...and just dispatched two 18-wheelers...the road ahead is clear and the mountain section is just about to start. Time is around 11.30pm....I’m weary and I did think of taking it off the road and catch some rest but thought it would be best to finish off the mountains and stop on clear patch of road where I could be clearly seen by traffic and that the area was pretty secluded didn’t help matters either.

Doing comfortable speeds of around 110kmph...all the passengers are fast asleep and some light music plays on the CD player.
I just glance down at the odometer reading and finally my sleepiness gets the better of me and my eyes shut just for about 2-3 seconds and they open when my car is on gravel hurtling towards a hairpin bend at more 100kmph...everything goes into slow motion mode....I can see there’s a tree just off the hairpin...now that it was decided that there's nothing I can do to avoid a collision...I’m already thinking of ways to keep damage to us to a minimum...I think of pulling the handbrake...but that would have meant going sideways into the tree and that would have certainly killed us. So I brake as hard as I can with the steering pointing into the bend, but too little too late...no ABS...wheels lock... I loose sight of the tree...the car catches quite a bit air and flies almost 15 feet goes head-on into the mountain side, almost rolls onto its side and manages to land with all the for wheels hovering over the ground missing the tree by mere inches. I was the only one wearing a seatbelt...my front passenger had just removed her seatbelt 10mins back...I see her getting slammed into the dashboard. No airbags either.(Thank God in this case)

As soon as the car stops...I ask everyone if they are fine...and they give a dazed but positive response...so I get out and fall into a ditch over which the car was hanging...but that wasn’t a problem...I climb back onto the highway and there’s the last 18-wheeler I overtook...he stops...I ask him for some rope...I knew we could probably still drive the car as the engine was still running...there's smell of burnt rubber and there are skid marks as far as the eye can see in the dark. But the trucker does not have any rope so I ask him to carry on. The political party convoy is next up...they stop immediately and out of those cars pour out about 30-35 people....right about now one of them asks me if I can smell something burning...it was the bushes, the hot exhaust was beginning to smoulder. I run and turn off the engine.

Those 35 guys manage to lift the car and pull it out from the mountain side in about 45mins...The front bumper was totally smashed into the radiator grille…but thankfully didn’t damage it as such…after pulling it out with help of the government guys…it seemed ok to carry on. For once, the government did something right. Thanks guys!!!
Goa is still about 150kms ahead. Around 1am, we start yet again...but this time not crossing 40kmph...that crash knocked the sleep right out of my head atleast for a little while. We try to stay with the convoy but loose them after a while, but since the car didn’t feel right so I restricted the speeds...last 150kms to our destination was covered in an agonising 3 hours. And damn no cellphone coverage throughout this patch…I had to inform my parents that I would be really late. And no PCOs were open past mid-night. I manage to convince a guy to open up his PCO so that I could make a call. Once I did that…everything was ok.

Its 4am...we have just arrived at Margao...we park the car in the driveway and go straight into the house. We decided to stay at a friends place for what was left of the night...would move to the resort in Candolim the next day.

Only the next morning I realise how much damage there is...the whole front end is smashed, the left side bumper being affected the most. Shards of glass from the busted fogs were embedded in the bumper. And then the pain...I check myself...and there are bruises running right where the seatbelt was...others were suffering bruises as well...and my front passenger...not a scratch or bruise on her. One lucky lady. After looking at the car I realise what if I had braked bit later...what if I had not noticed that tree...we would have been goners for sure.

Its really sad that Hyundai India doesn’t offer airbags on any variants of the accent...although ABS is offered on only some variants...these are something’s that every car should have.

Sorry if it’s been too long a post. No pics were taken firstly because it didn’t strike me at the time to get some photographs and also that I really didn’t want to remember my car in such a state, but looking at the speeds and elevation involved damage was lesser than expected.
Exteriors have been fixed as of now...suspension needs work and have to do something about the broken glove box courtesy my front passenger.

Lesson...Fatigue Kills!! Lucky us!!!
Always be well rested…before taking up a long drive.

Drifter

Last edited by drifter : 24th November 2005 at 09:00.
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Old 24th November 2005, 09:14   #2
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after all these years of highway driving ..i have realised that its very easy to drive the whole nite and then into the day ...but its very difficult to drive throughout the day and then try driving in the nite...

as far as possible night driving should be avoided on our 2 -lane highways....


also ,there should always be someone awake along with the driver to keep talking with him/her...

and i have also noticed that once in a while it does help to look at some far away object while driving .....


and the moment u feel u are getting tired...just stop the car and try and take a walk ...or wash ur face ...or if you are too tired ....just park the car on teh side and get some nap...a small 15-30 mins sleep does do wonders...




good that you all were saved...
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Old 24th November 2005, 10:03   #3
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Drifter,

Thank God to hear that you and the other occupants are safe in what could otherwise have been a disastrous experience. I am pretty surprised you pushed the envelope so far, but I guess you have learnt your lessons so......

A couple of tips when feeling sleepy :

1. POWER NAP : Pull over at a road side dhaba / hotel and take a short powernap. It will work wonders.

2. SWITCH DRIVERS : Take turns driving and sleeping.

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Old 24th November 2005, 10:14   #4
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Hey Drifter,

Good to hear you and your friends are all Ok. To Add to GTO's do's try chewing gum whenever you go for a long drive the chewing action will make sure you dont drowse off.

But best of all "Better late than never" so take a nap when you are tired.


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Old 24th November 2005, 10:30   #5
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Thank god to hear you and your friends are all OK...

NEVER allow your co-passengers to sleep while you drive. Especially your co-driver, the front-seat rider.
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Old 24th November 2005, 10:37   #6
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Dude, first lets thank god you are all alive.

Its happened to me a couple of times when I doze off and find myself in another lane. (was on the freeway). Here's my tips.

Pull over and throw some cold water on your face.
Always keep talking to co-passengers. If they doze off, then you
tend to doze off as well.
Stop and get a caffeine shot (coke or coffee)
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Old 24th November 2005, 10:43   #7
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Hey Drifter

That was scary and thank god you and your passengers are all safe!!! While its easy to give advice AFTER a mishap has happened, everyone needs to bear in mind the following (which have already been mentioned by other members):

1. Never start out on a long journey without adequate rest. Better late than never...starting off late in the day when you're dreary is probably the worst you can do.

2. If you feel tired, pull over to the side of the road and catch some sleep immediately.

3. SWITCH OFF THE MUSIC IF YOU'RE WEARY, and stay in tune with your engine.

4. At least ONE passenger should be awake at all times and that person should be sitting in the front passenger's seat - this applies even if you're being chauffer driven or travelling in a taxi.

In your case you got all four wrong - count yourself lucky, VERY lucky, and nevermind what happened to the car. Thats secondary.
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Old 24th November 2005, 10:44   #8
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Drifter, that was really a scary experience. Good to know that all are safe and you were really lucky.

I did learn out of my experience that when you are drowsy, the ONLY solution is to stop driving and take a nap. Things like taking a short break/walk, washing face, chewing gums, having some tea/coffee etc will give only a short relief and you are back to square one within no time. Avoid night driving and drive safe.
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Old 24th November 2005, 10:54   #9
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Thank god you are fine dude! Thats one helluva accident!
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Old 24th November 2005, 10:59   #10
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Default dude..

U are one lucky guy and nice to know abt the minimum damages to the people/ Car from a potentially dangerous situation.



Some things from your experiences.

1) Dont drive in the night if you have not had sufficient rest.

2) Always have someone awake by your side and keep some conversation on. Although i have found that the other person( navigator seat!) invariably gets tired of staring at the road and dozes off when you are at the drivers seat during the night. It has happened with me

3) Always ensure that all the occupants are wearing seatbelts be it day or night or city or highway.

4) Safety features do come in handy in potential situations.
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Old 24th November 2005, 11:34   #11
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I was a co passenger to such a sleepy head on return from new orleans (mardi gras) to dallas. he slept on the wheels when i was awake, i actually pulled the steering back in line and woke him up. unfortunately i didn't have license and experience on then US highways that time.

i think chewing gum and cofee are good tactics, but nothing like a short nap....after all time is money, but not more important than life
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Old 24th November 2005, 11:42   #12
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Good to hear everyone's OK, drifter.

I've had one close call for a similar reason, after which I'm careful to avoid driving while tired. I find it helps to enforce a rule that my front passenger stays awake to keep me company. Having someone sleeping at your side somewhat adds to the possibility of a driver drifting off as well (no pun intended).

Cheers
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Old 24th November 2005, 11:51   #13
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Wow drifter ...thank god you are all safe...hows the car now?.estmated the damage?.
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Old 24th November 2005, 12:07   #14
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Good to have you (and your friends) back safe and sound.

This should be a good lesson for people who try to do something what they can't...stretching beyond the limits. Please take it on the right stride.

My advice - when you have the first instinct of sleepiness/tiredness, don't try to stretch your drive; pull over stop your car. And then decide what should be; take nap or have a cold wash or coffee or swap your driver...
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Old 24th November 2005, 12:37   #15
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Thank God that you are ok. It could have been much worse.

I have had a similar experience once late night on a relatively empty highway when i almost banged into a stationary lorry with no lights.

Even if you don't sleep, there is still danger bcoz as you become drowsy your reflexes decrease and reaction time increases.

Never ever drive at night without rest.

If you absolutely must then:

1)Keep the co-passenger in the front awake.

2)If you are alone or if pt 1 is not possible. Roll down the window half way so that the cool air hits your face directly. Take a chewing gum. Put on loud music(rock/metal) and try to hum along. If possible splash your eyes with water.
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