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Old 20th December 2016, 21:24   #16
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Fundamental problem today's age is that 90% of us don't get enough sleep. Getting 6 hours of sleep a night is a big deal. Getting enough sleep (8 hours uninterrupted) is essential for general health.

I share the tips that I follow:

1. No matter what, sleep early the night before the day you plan a long journey

2. Make your shotgun (co-passenger at the front) sleep well too.

3. Avoid night driving

4. Have frequent conversations with your shot gun during the drive

5. Never let a sleepy passenger at the shotgun spot

6. Water, a lot of it! Never be dehydrated. Avoid too much caffeine and colas

7. Get down once every 100 km, stretch, breathe fresh air, walk a little

8. Have a collection of different music genre. I prefer a fast song in between every 4-5 melodious songs

9. Don't overeat on the highway hotels/dhabas

10. If feeling exhausted/sleepy, find a hotel/coffee outlet with a lot of cars, park your car and have a powernap.

11. Never be ambitious while planning long drives. 1000 km a day may sound cool for bragging rights, but it is downright risky, and at times idiotic too (unless you have a severe time crunch to reach a destination for a very important task).

12. Start your drive early (4-5 am) and conclude early (6-7pm)

Last edited by PrasannaDhana : 20th December 2016 at 21:32.
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Old 20th December 2016, 21:55   #17
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

At times things can go really bad even when you are not behind the wheels. There have been multiple instances where I have encountered sleepy drivers while riding with cab services like Ola and Uber for early morning airport rides. I do make a point about it in my feedback, but don't think much is done about it.

There was this one instance where the driver was literally sleeping and I reported it in very clear terms that it was very dangerous. I did get a refund, but money was never the issue. A better action could have been suspending the driver for a couple of days.

My feedback :
Share Details: The driver dozed off 2-3 time, even almost hitting the divider once. He was swaying between lanes and I had to wake him up multiple times. He was half asleep throughout the ride. It was a very unsafe drive to the airport.
Sent by Dhawal K. on Saturday August 13 2016 12:52am

Response from Uber:

Thanks for reaching out, Dhawal.

We're sorry to hear about your experience during this trip. Itís important to us that your rides with Uber are safe and comfortable.

Your safety is very important to us. The Uber Safety Team has created Community Guidelines and Safety Standards to protect both riders and drivers.

In cases like these, money doesn't mean much, it's the sheer inconvenience that leaves an everlasting bad impression. For the inconvenience caused, I've gone ahead and refunded the charge for this trip; you should see it back on your card in the next couple of business days.

Thanks again for sharing this feedback. Please feel free to get in touch anytime.


Sent by Sai Kaushik on Wednesday August 17 2016 7:08am
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Old 20th December 2016, 22:27   #18
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Chewing Gum (Orbit / Happydent ) works for me in early morning and night highway drives. In the afternoons, i also keep a bottle of Coke handy and take short sips. If i'm even slightly sleepy, i stop and take a 10 min power nap. I usually drive non-stop 4-5 hours (if alone) at a cruising speed of 90-100kmph.
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Old 20th December 2016, 23:07   #19
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Something similar to Dhawal20's experience happened with me once.
Took a ric early morning and the ric driver must've been driving night shift. I felt he's feeling drowsy looking at his face.

Left him mid-way at less than half the distance.
He questions me why I'm stopping so early compared to where I have to go - told him point blank - You are feeling sleepy. I don't want to take the risk. Please go home & sleep.
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Old 20th December 2016, 23:21   #20
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Reposting an old post of mine in the concentration lapse thread. Still gives me the shudders and I was to get married in 2 weeks.
Originally Posted by Deep Blue View Post
36hrs resident duty. Very busy night. As soon as I got off the hospital, had to drive down to Mangalore to meet my fiancee to give some important package. On the way back, slept off, car veered off the road. Luckily the area on the side was level with the highway. With the thud, I woke up and controlled the car, stopped. Washed my face thoroughly and slowly drove back safely(another 20kms).
Ever since I have been very careful. I have driven at early morning or in the late night but always after adequate rest. No dashing off into a long drive after duties at hospital. Music is a must but not the soft lullabies. I prefer FM if available as the RJs are constantly chatting off some gibberish.

Last edited by GTO : 21st December 2016 at 11:51. Reason: Typos
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Old 20th December 2016, 23:38   #21
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Originally Posted by aashishnb View Post
Left him mid-way at less than half the distance.
He questions me why I'm stopping so early compared to where I have to go - told him point blank - You are feeling sleepy. I don't want to take the risk. Please go home & sleep.
Even I contemplated the same action but at 4 am on the ORR, I would have had been stuck with no mode of transport. I did offer the cab driver the option to let me drive but somehow he found it amusing.

What I found amusing was that while ending the trip, he asked me to give a 5 star rating.
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Old 20th December 2016, 23:59   #22
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Oh I think of nothing for taking naps. First off, naps are one of my absolute favourite things in the world. Second, the delicious nap that I'm able to make when I'm genuinely fatigued or tired is a reward in itself. It feels so, so good. The mental alertness that you get after is an amazing bonus for driving. Just stop anywhere safe, recline that driver's seat, leave the car on if you need the air conditioned, or anything else to make you comfortable for the next 30 or so minutes, and snooze away to glory.

I have done this so many times it doesn't even feel out of place for me to take a highway nap. Dhabas, big restaurants, fuel stations, resort parkings, they all work. It is genuinely one of the healthiest things to do in your daily life even if you're not driving.
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Old 21st December 2016, 00:21   #23
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

A very informative thread and a lot of research has gone into this one. Thanks a lot for sharing. Though I am a big fan of night driving, I will keep coming back to this thread as a reminder on hazards of continuous long distance driving.
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Old 21st December 2016, 00:36   #24
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Nice thread, useful!

I take a minimum 10-15 minute break every 2 hours. This is a break all the passengers are comfortable with. I deliberately try not to induce sleep/cat naps during such breaks as the sleepiness continues after starting off.

Sometimes I find brushing my teeth abit rejuvenating. Other times I use the break to make amends to drive plan if the road conditions have changed drive timelines. If nothing else, a Gujju can always resort to recording down the expenditure - quite likely to give his partners half a sleepless night Edit : Just kidding,

Trips are planned with possible night breaks and additional holidays, stop overs at larger towns are preferred so we have decent options for early dinner.

Highway road traffic conditions are getting way more worse & unpredictable than before and it's necessary to enjoy trips in a more cautious way than before.

Drive safe.

Last edited by GrammarNazi : 21st December 2016 at 00:54.
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Old 21st December 2016, 03:40   #25
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

An app that I use while driving/riding motorcycle is Glympse (there may be others). I use it 100% of the time if I am on the road after sunset. It allows me to share my current location with my wife/kids. They can watch/track my location and speed in real time. It also allows them to call or contact me only when I am stopped somewhere, and not while I am riding/driving.

From the time I started using this app, my wife has never said "Where the hell have you been?"
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Old 21st December 2016, 03:58   #26
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Thank you for sharing this thread. As someone said rightly, it takes courage to admit the mistakes we make.

I am generally a careful driver/rider and at the first signs of drowsiness, I have always pulled over for a nap and didn't risk it. However, I have 1 incident that happened to me that I would want to share. This happened a couple of months ago when I was on my bike on a solo trip from Bangalore to Delhi and back. The trip happened bang in the middle of monsoon.

To give a small background for this incident, the first day of the trip was from Bangalore to Nagpur, second day from Nagpur to Delhi, third day from Delhi to Ahmedabad. More than 70% of this was done through some heavy rains. So, to say my body was tired would be an understatement.

I started early from Ahmedabad (~6AM) and my destination for the day was Kohlapur. With the rains showing no signs of rest, I too rode on and on. I reached Mumbai by about 2 pm and met my friend for lunch. Seeing me drenched and pale, my friend begged me to stay the night at his place. But feeling a bit too heroic, I bid him adieu and headed on. Still raining. Not knowing my way around Mumbai, I ended up on the expressway on a 2 wheeler. Visibility was as bad as it could get and through the helmet, it was just worse. Add to it, the cross winds were so violent, I had to pay utmost concentration to keep the bike from swaying from one lane to another. At the first toll booth that came, the guards pulled me over and politely asked me to take the old highway. I found my way to the old highway and by this time, I just wanted to crash into a warm bed. About a couple of kilometers before Pune, I dozed off for a second and the bike hit the median. This shock woke me up. The median was at least half a foot high. My bike and I came out of unscathed only because of god's blessings.

I was a threat to myself anyways, but more than that, I could've hurt some other innocent road user. The thought that I could've hurt someone because of my foolish decisions still scares me. I called it a day at Pune. The next day, I woke up only after my body rested completely and headed back to Bangalore peacefully.

I swore to myself I will never take such an immature decision again where I put other's lives at risk. By god's grace I completed the trip safely minus this one incident. I will never repeat this act.

All said and done, riding in rain is one of the most beautiful feelings one could experience. But never drive/ride when tired. Sleep deprivation is one thing, but a tired body and mind are also equally dangerous. One could be tired even after sleeping for 7 hours. Bear this in mind.

Drive Safe.
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Old 21st December 2016, 07:21   #27
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Amazing thread and great info out there, GTO . My family follws strict rule of avoiding traveling during night as much as possible unless it is really emergency or short runs to Ahmedabad or Vadodara. Usually, our driver sees lots of airport trips for family's pickup/drop off to Ahmedabad airport for international trips which is hour and half from my home town Anand. Now usually, most international flights inbound to Ahmedabad are late night-early mornings. Our rule of thumb is to send the driver to airport on previous night by 10 pm and he sleeps there in car until the flight is arrived - strictly not sending driver to airport at late night right before arrival and coming back disturbing his sleep.
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Old 21st December 2016, 09:02   #28
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Great thread with lots of important tips and hints for a safe driving experience. Never knew sleep/drowsiness could be one of the major reasons for accidents as much as drunken driving is.
I personally prefer getting plenty of sleep the previous night and starting very early 4-5am (but when you travel with your family it never happens) to beat the city traffic as well as the afternoon heat while driving for long trips. Water works wonders for me more than tea/coffee. A sip every half an hour feels refreshing. Another tip I would like to suggest is to park your car safely apply cold water to your eyes and forehead. It helps freshen up and kill the fatigue.
Something from my own experience-
Being the only driver in the family and driving since the moment I got my license at 18, being responsible for the safety of your entire family sitting behind you keeps you level headed. On a few occasions in past I have found myself guilty of overspeeding and driving recklessly the moment I realized i was fatigued simple because there was no one else to drive and hence getting my family to the destination as quickly as possible was the only thing in my head.
Looking back now it feels what a terrible thing it was. Even today am still the only driver in my family but I make a point to start well in advance so as to reach my destination well and before atleast 10pm.
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Old 21st December 2016, 09:40   #29
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Thanks for this important thread, GTO. There are enough tips here already, my couple of points:

- I make sure I have one of the AC blowers directed to my face when I drive. This really helps me keep fresh and alert.

- I use a special drink for my drives, which I normally dont use - Diet Coke. The idea is that if I am not used to it, it keeps me nicely awake for the drives.

Hope this helps. And yes, driving is always fun
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Old 21st December 2016, 09:48   #30
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Sometimes we tend to follow divider as reference and this habit is very dangerous. I quickly drew using paint and attached a pic of numerous u-turn junctions seen on the Pune-Bangalore-Madurai-Trivandrum route. When you are drowsy, your decision and reaction time taken is quite long and I will rate this worst than drinking and driving. Driving after drinking is due to a state of mind where you think whatever you do is right but drowsiness is something you are very well aware off .

This incident happened in 2011 during one my solo drives from Bangalore to Trivandrum. I usually leave at 3 pm and reach Trivandrum by 11:30 same day . It was around 10 pm and I was cruising along in my Ritz vdi. Meanwhile a crazy i-20 driver overtakes me and I could see that he was not able to keep his car on a particular lane ( these roads have only 2 lanes each side ). I felt he was drowsy/drunk and I couldn't keep up with his speed. I usually do not cross 110-120 but he was too fast. The stretch between Madurai and Nagercoil is very lonely . After some time I saw the same car toppled over in the middle of road with few local bike riders standing beside it. They told me to inform the nearest toll plaza and I did the same. The toll plaza already got the news by the time I reported and the person informed me that i20 hit the divider and overturned.

After this incident I started driving on the outer lane which is safe for one more reason . In Tamil Nadu, you will be surprised to see buses and trucks coming in wrong direction ( No offense to anyone as most of the roads in Kerala does not even have dividers ). When ever I see anyone traveling by road, I make sure to inform them both these incidents and suggest them to use outer lane

After seeing the attached pic what do you guys think , can we consider it to be a poor highway design ?
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