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Old 2nd February 2024, 02:04   #196
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Not all risks have good returns.

This incident is from October ,2023.

I had recently been on a 10D/9N holiday to the hospital in September suffering from a deadly trio: Dengue/Jaundice/Typhoid. I was discharged 30 days back so I was much better at the time of this incident (or so I thought).
Prior to the incident, I had returned from 3 day Trip to Bhimtal, Uttarakhand via Train the previous evening so no extra fatigue of driving through traffic.

While I didn’t get 8 hours of sleep, I got a good 6 hour shut eye that day and felt reasonably fresh that morning. 6 hours also happens to be the maximum amount of sleep I get in weekdays so I felt comfortable with that. However in the evening while returning from Work, I was quite tired and some Eddie Vedder’s Music was playing on the Stereo(For the uninitiated: a lot of his work is acoustic music that can act as a lullaby).

The slow acoustic music combined with my fatigue led me to dose off for about 3-5 seconds on Cruise Control 3 kms from my House, on the road along boundary wall of the IGI Airport. As I dosed off, I hit the divider on my right to my right and that gave my beloved a Curb Rash on the right front wheel. This gave me a jerk and I woke up, again taking control. As the angle was very slight, I was saved that day. It was as if the almighty was watching over me, because another 150 mtrs and road narrowed out as construction work was underway. Even a car one or two lanes away was watching me and it was clear he made out what was happening from his face. So I may have dosed off for upto 8 seconds.

It took me a few days to overcome to overcome the realisation of what could’ve happened. The lingering recovery from weakness combined with the trip fatigue till next day played a huge role in causing this too. I was more tired than I realised that morning.

I learned the hard way that the body cannot keep taking all that you throw at it simply because you are young. It gives you signals and you must pay attention to them. I also stopped listening to any slow music on long drives, now I only hear music I can sing along to. That ensures I am attentive.

Word to the wise:

- The body is always giving off signals. Listen to them. Sometimes a tea/coffee can fix them. Not always. Its ok.

- Please do not drive without a minimum of 6 hours shut eye on the previous night or enough rest right before the drive, especially if you are going to go on a long drives.

- Have someone in the car to talk to on long drives, if possible. Company Pays; Better go on long drives with Co-Passengers, it may also turn out to be cost effective.

- Or play some lively music that you can sing along with co-passengers, especially if you are driving alone play something lively.

- Try to reach your destination before sun down if you can on highway drives. 7-8 PM is also ok, as roads might be reasonably lit in some areas then.

- If you feel even a tiny but tired, don’t use Cruise Control. The disengagement from the Accelerator and potential to talk with your car and adds more risk to your drive. The potential monotony while on Cruise Control on a clear road might actually increase your chances of dosing off in such a Scenario.

- Last but not the least, don’t push it. Even if you feel even a tiny bit tired, you don’t have to push it unless your life depends on it. Everything else can wait. There are no extra marks for proving to yourself that you can push it. There is a lot of penalties if you fail to push through it right. It is not worth it. Park your car at a decent place, maybe a petrol pump, dhaba or tea stall. Take a nap wherever you see it safe to do so. Let your family/friends know where you are taking a nap. Whatsapp/Apple/Google Locations are accessible to most people now.

Not all returns are justifiable to the risk. Reaching your loved ones or anywhere else a bit late isn’t all that bad as it may seem.

#DriveSafe

Last edited by SixPistons : 2nd February 2024 at 02:20. Reason: Context and Formatting
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