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Old 23rd December 2016, 11:03   #76
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

A certain small percentage of people taking this may experience diarrhea etc.

Still others may exhibit nervous weakness symptoms such as shaking hands, shaky memory / short term memory loss, confusion etc

Please don't take anything like this unless and until prescribed by a doctor for a specific condition, especially drugs that act on the brain, and even more especially those that alter brain chemistry. This is used to treat sleep disorders it isn't supposed to be used for staying awake for long hours.

As for pilots or Silicon Valley bros taking it like it is candy - World War II German soldiers, flyers etc used to take a drug called pervitin for similar purposes. That was an early form of crystal meth so draw your own conclusions about how good or (breaking) bad an idea it was

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Old 23rd December 2016, 11:18   #77
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Dear GTO,

A fantastic thread!

A lot of credit to all the others who have contributed too! I would like to add a small anecdote of mine!

This was 1999 - I was shifting from Jalgaon (Maharashtra) to Pune (Maharashtra). I had packed 99% of the house and sent it by truck. My father in law got it unloaded in my Pune's rented place. I had a Maruti OmniE (eight seater) at that time. I was very clear - no night driving. I attended a friend's marriage and in the evening took off. I do not remember the time - but it was just before sunset. Reached Aurangabad and stayed with some family friends. I had put a mattress between the Omni's rear seats. I had also put a second mattress on top of that. It made a small but comfortable bed in the back. My wife could take small rests with my 1 year old girl.

The fun started the next day. We left Aurangabad just after sunrise. We stopped at Smilestone near Supe for lunch. At that time, I realized that my body was fatigued! The effect of packing, cleaning house, hectic meetings with friends, a lot of driving and very little rest started showing effect. At that time my wife did not know how to drive. Since Smilestone is a big place with a lot of movement and it was the middle of the day, I asked my wife to take my daughter and play in the garden while I slept in the back of the car! I took a nice one hour nap. I woke up and after getting refreshed, I drove down to Pune - totally fresh. I think I did the right thing at the right time!

Now for the side effect of this - my wife decided to learn to drive a car! Since then she has driven the Omni, then the Honda City, then the WagonR, then the Honda Jazz and now she has even driven our Scorpio!! I have about 3.5 lakh km driving under my belt and I am sure she has crossed 50000 km on her own. On our latest trip Pune-Nagpur-Pune she drove the Scorpio for about half the trip! And we both follow the rule of minimum night driving and zero sleepy driving!!

Girish Mahajan
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Old 23rd December 2016, 11:30   #78
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

A great addition to advice section sir !! Salute to your full-hearted dedication and research.

I can bet that most of the driver don't even realize (or accept) drowsiness as a cause of accident. They can't digest the fact that if deprived of sleep, body can go napping, without their consent.

If you have trouble staying up during the day, you might have a medical condition like sleep apnea. Get yourself checked up before it's too late.
Originally Posted by earthian View Post
It was worrisome. Then i took a sleep study.
Snoring; no matter how loud or frequent, is taken as a normal thing by us. Due to this, sleep disorders go unnoticed in our country.

I want to share an incident here; my brother who snores a lot was into an accident some two years ago. The car hit a tractor trolley (from side) coming from opposite side. It went for total loss, fortunately my brother survived but had to undergo a knee surgery and countless stitches all over the body. All he could remember was that, he was feeling sleepy (even after good nights sleep) just before the mishap.

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Old 23rd December 2016, 12:37   #79
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Amazing Post GTO
You have covered every aspect of sleep-driving

Just adding my experiences.

Your co-passenger or shotgun makes a big difference in the journey, whether its 100kms or 1000kms. Not just their mere presence, but also by their actions. Sometimes, the destination doesn't matter, it's the journey that does.

I usually travel alone, I even prefer night driving alone.
If at all I travel with other passengers, they would be fast asleep and it would be just me, music and the other road users. Since the passengers are sleepy, they would prefer some light music (obviously to help with their sleep) and I prefer some Rock or Metal music to keep me a little alert. Nowadays, I just on the radio and let the RJ chose the music. It also helps that some RJs speak although some of it may be ridiculous to listen to. Also, Radio advertisements also help; it's absolutely irritating to listen to the same adverts again and again every 10 minutes or so, it helps in keeping alert.

I have two incidents, and it's only taken place with the same co-passenger (Let's call him XYZ).
1. In October 2015, I and XYZ had to travel to Bangalore International Airport (which is a 100km journey through Tumkur-Dabaspet-Doddbellapur-Devanahalli). I had already traveled up and down to Bangalore city that day in the morning, plus had evening shift at the hospital. At night, around 12 am, XYZ (who is a co-worker) wanted a lift to the airport. I was dead exhausted when I had reached the airport. I was young then, had the spirit to drive anywhere without thinking of consequences. I drove back 70% of the way, only remembering bits and pieces of the drive back. Finally decided to stop at a Cafe Coffee Day, which is located after Dabaspet, cause there were no other spots to stop at, around 4 am and slept all the way until 7 am. Not only this sleep helped me to reach home safe and sound, but I was posted for an operation later the day.
2. In March 2016, I and the same XYZ had to travel to Bangalore city at midnight. XYZ had a fracture and he needed to reach Bangalore city urgently at that hour, and also return back. The thing which made this journey more tiring was the fact that I had to travel very careful, watching every pothole, road joints, etc. and couldn't go above 60kmph as every thud meant his body would get a jerk and the fracture site would hurt. So, a journey that would have taken about 1.5 hours, took 3 hours. On the way back, around 4 am, while I was driving near T Begur, Nelmangala towards Pune, it happened. My eyes slowly shut for about a good 10 seconds at the wrong place: the road had a curve towards the left, and there was a truck on my right. I almost hit the truck on its left side, hadn't the other co-passenger (who I had picked up from Bangalore) woken me up. He made me stop on the side of the road and sleep (He didn't know how to drive). I slept then and there for a good 2 hours and then continued on my journey.

I learned my lesson then and there, after which, if I am the sole driver I stop and take a break (or a nap) and if I am with other co-passengers (who drive well and are not intoxicated), I just hand them over the keys and tell them "You Drive."

A little Off-Topic
Nowadays whenever I travel to Bangalore city (which is about 100kms from where I stay) I take the company of a particular fairer sex as she lives in the city with family. She keeps talking something or another, playing with the radio, keeps a check on the speed and other traffic and helps me out in navigation (google maps).
PS: Not a similar story like BHPian V.Narayan's

Last edited by themonster : 23rd December 2016 at 12:40. Reason: adding links and removing some spelling mistakes
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Old 23rd December 2016, 15:00   #80
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Nice thread. Had an interesting experience myself.

I have always driven at a fair clip on highways and in doing so the speed has kept me alert to surroundings. Even things like keeping a constant eye out to overtake the vehicle ahead has its benefits.

I realised this much later when driving some elderly people in the car. I was driving slower than normal and this resulted in two things ; I started appreciating the scenery more than I should leading to less focus on the road and I begun feeling drowsy!

Lesson learnt, dont change what comes naturally. Just stay away from driving rash.

Last edited by Hatari : 23rd December 2016 at 15:02.
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Old 23rd December 2016, 15:18   #81
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Excellent thread GTO. Some personal experiences from my side:

Highway hypnosis - driving correctly but somewhat unconsciously. Happens to a great lot of us, especially on long straight highways which are empty, mostly at night. Experienced the same in 2007 (just after I learnt driving and on which would be my first long distance solo drive) where I felt that I was standing and its the highway that is moving. Tried to shake it off but to no avail, pulled into a gas station, filled up the car (was not required but still I did it) and had a cup of coffee.

Drowsy driving - can happen in city limits too. I was having long tiring days in office in 2010, and while driving at night from office to home, suddenly dozed of in bumper to bumper traffic to hit a Sumo in front. Luckily the car was only rolling slowly (AT D mode with no throttle input), and save for a minor dent in the front bumper no harm was done. Also for long distance drives I prefer coffee in a thermos-flask and/or cans of sugar free red bull to stay conscious (if driving alone).

Long drives - for my longest drive (1400+ kms), I broke down the drive into 2 days. First day I drove for 8 hours, had a good nights sleep and then the next day for drove again for 7 hours.

Last edited by blackasta : 23rd December 2016 at 15:20.
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Old 23rd December 2016, 15:26   #82
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Excellent thread GTO! Has happened to me as well a couple of times when I had to start in the early morning and in sometime into the drive I was sleepy. This was mainly because I am a late riser and like many others on this forum, even I don't get proper sleep on the night before a trip (excitement to get behind the wheels for a long drive always wins!)

However, post those couple of experiences of feeling sleepy, now I am more careful to ensure that I sleep properly the night before. One thing I used to do earlier is pack my bag on the night before the trip which would invariably result in me ending up sleeping late, but now I pack my bags atleast 2 nights before the trip. Also, while driving I have more of coffee now and avoid oil/ghee/butter foods that tend to make me sleepy.

Hence I feel its very important to be alert on the road otherwise you are a potential threat not just for your folks in the car but also for other people driving on the road.
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Old 24th December 2016, 09:19   #83
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Thank you GTO, for bringing this up.
A very useful and relevant thread.
I hope most of the Bhpians read this and also educate their friends and relatives on the dangers of driving while tired or sleepy.
I have been guilty of the above, done it once in the UK, when i drove for three hours after a long haul flight. It was a stupid thing to do and I narrowly missed what could have been a disastrous accident for me and my family who were in the car with me.
I promised myself-'never again'.
Now, I avoid any night driving /riding unless its an emergency.
I make sure that I am adequately rested when behind the wheel.
The irony is that although we might be careful, other road users can be drunk, sleepy, moronic or a combination of all three and this may be enough to cause an accident.
All we can do as responsible drivers is to do the best we can, from our end to be safe.
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Old 24th December 2016, 10:50   #84
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

I used to drive in a super vigilant mode during long journeys. But a side effect of this is that all my muscles would be very tensed up and it tires me out. Hence now I have come to the conclusion that what is required is a relaxed "soft focus" type of mental and physical state while driving. You are alert but relaxed at the same time. Of course one would tend to get all tensed up after some time with out realizing. A way to recognize this and relax is to periodically pay attention to whether your shoulders are relaxed or not. The act of paying attention and consciously relaxing the shoulders relaxes one as a whole mentally and physically. Apart from avoiding fatigue, added advantage is relief from shoulder, neck and back problems. This approach works well when driving at a relaxed pace. Also I have observed that long distance bus drivers who drive well (i.e. without aggressive maneuvers and over speeding) are always relaxed.
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Old 25th December 2016, 17:12   #85
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Actually this is a nice topic. I have done many long drives my self. The longest one being 1100 kms one side from my hometown in Gaya to New delhi via NH-2. While we go there once in a year during durga puja celebration, We always take a break at Varansai so that we can avoid entering Bihar during night. But while returning back, we always start at around 0600 hrs in the morning and reach Delhi at around 0100 hrs in the night. NH-2 does not allow you drowsiness as there is heavy traffic and mind is always occupied negating trucks and heavy vehicles
This year we decided to take Yamuna Expressway despite knowing that it becomes extremely deserted late at night. Being deserted, it was actually very boring lonely and boring to drive. This induced the fatal drowsiness in me. My parents, my wife, my kids were all fast asleep. I was driving at around 85-90 kmph and suddenly i felt as if the car jumped and then became normal. This is when i realised that i had crossed around 120 and had actually dozed off. There was actually some unevenness on road which had caused it.
I got the lesson of my life. First one was never to overstretch myself. Secondly, despite having two other drivers(father & Wife) was not to do a single handed drive. God saved me.

Next time when we went to Jodhpur with family, my Father & Wife drove for half the journey and drove the rest half myself. End result-no fatigue, less tiring and more enjoyable journey.
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Old 26th December 2016, 00:56   #86
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

This thread has brought to my attention how dangerous I have been.

I have done quite a few drives late at night or early in the morning. Once, it was a drive from Palghat (departure at 9 p.m.) and did non-stop to Bangalore until about 2 a.m. It was crazy!! This after having done a Guruvayur - Athirapally falls - Palghat, where I had started driving at 10 a.m. that day.

Lucky, my body held itself quite well.

Similarly, many of my trips to Chennai from Bangalore (and vice versa) have either started early in the morning or at late in the evening, and have been non-stop at times.

The only safe ones have been those which invariably had either my wife or parents traveling with me, or the ones to Mysore and back.

May I learn to be careful.
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Old 26th December 2016, 01:04   #87
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
A Team-BHP Fan (who prefers to remain anonymous) shares this titbit. Personally, I hate taking pills and wouldn't recommend it:
I wouldn't recommend it either, now I don't have anything closely related to a medical background nor have any interest in it, but I do know that anything that manipulates the body in an unnatural way will lead to disturbance of body-cycles and rhythms sooner or later. Some people get hooked on to pain pills to numb their mind but a few months of use later the body grows numb to it and one has to up the dosage, same thing with these pills not to mention potential side-effects if the user is found to be allergic to the ingredient (headaches, nausea, dizziness & anxiety are listed possible negative effects, all deadly when driving).

My basic knowledge in body-sciences tell me that there are two ways to keep a body alert - one by dopamine activation and the other by adenosine inhibition. Dopamine activation merely encourages the feel-good chemical dopamine to be released quickly thus increasing wakefulness (Modafinil), and adenosine inhibition (caffeine agents) blocks the sleep-inducing chemical adenosine temporarily, the problem with both is that there will be a backlog of blocked adenosine which well be released all together after their inhibition is neutralised thus creating a "crash" feeling.. that's one of those moments when we feel like just dropping onto the bed and sleeping away till the sun rises.

Thus, as I had stated earlier, no alcohol, no caffeine.. just replenish lost fluids in small quantities, get the requisite 6-8 hours of sleep per day and specially before a long drive and keep the mind fresh and free from burden. That will give one the best driving experiences possible.
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Old 26th December 2016, 09:25   #88
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

I drove back from Bangalore yesterday to Hyderabad and for the first time encountered a sleepiness problem on the highway.

Had gone to sleep at around 2 AM and slept till almost 10 AM. That was a really good 7 hours of sleep. This is my usual timeline and nothing out of the ordinary.
Then had to visit a friends place where my family was staying.

They cooked a lot of dosa's, which I had to eat. Then I had to sit and watch the young kids playing games and just while away time. In other words just bored out of my mind. Lunch got served just 2 hours after that already heavy breakfast.
Ate as little as I could without being obnoxious.

The drive back to Hyderabad started at 3 PM.
By 3:30 my wife and kids fell asleep. My wife was suffering from a nasty cold and cough, which meant the AC was a problem.
By 4:30 PM I am sleepy.
As in very sleepy. The warm feeling in the car. The heavy load of carbs in my body, which was now getting used to a low carb diet.
Luckily my daughter woke up and since I could not talk loud as my wife and son were sleeping, decided to start playing some stupid games with her. Using the rearview mirror.

After 30 mins or so, my wife woke up and we started talking.
Playing with my daughter and talking with my wife totally removed sleep from the system.

I think that its not just lack of sleep that causes drowsiness.

Its a lack of any stimuli as well.
The Hyderabad-Bangalore highway is a beautiful road with no potholes etc
The AC being kept at barest minimum was making me warm.
Lots of food in my stomach had me satiated.
And very low music and lack of any conversation was making it worse.

So take care. Its not just lack of sleep that we need to guard against.
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Old 26th December 2016, 13:59   #89
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

Sleep is EXTREMELY important to me - so much that my wife probably thinks I am sleepy head, but my body needs it - the important fact is -

I "KNOW" that sleep is important to me.

I always avoid driving in the NIGHT no matter what - My holidays are BUDGETED accounting for NIGHTS that require me to sleep which means a Bangalore to Jog falls holiday would mean:

Day 1: Drive to Jog and reach before 9 PM with all breaks included. Check in and Sleep for a night.
Day 2/3: Enjoy at Jog
Day 4: Start by 10 AM and reach Bangalore

Which means my trips NEED 2 EXTRA nights EACH TIME - and my leave/money budget accounts for that.

Which to me is PERFECTLY OK - since a vacation should be full of FUN and not full of BLOOD.

Inspite of this I have a driving sleepy experience and this was NOT an a highway.

My son was just born and like most babies he decided that 5 AM in the morning was a great time to join us in this world. Now, I hadnt slept in over 30 hours and been running around in the hospital fetching medicines, etc and I had a daughter who needed to go to school. My home was about 15 Kms from the hospital and driving my daughter (in her car seat and belted up, of course) to my home - I could sense my car going in all directions and I hated myself for doing this.


Yes, I did reach home safely and took my daughter to school and slept peacefully for 7 hours before going to see my 1 day old son that evening.
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Old 26th December 2016, 17:06   #90
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Re: Drowsiness & Sleepy Driving: The silent killer on Indian roads

A very nice thread indeed and most friends here have chimed in with their experiences as well. It is only that we learn from such experiences and better to follow advice than risk your and your dear ones lives and your beloved ride.

I, too, had such an experience on the highway Goa to Pune via the NH4.
A friend of mine and I were headed back to Pune and there was a certain miscalculation of time. We were expected to leave around 2 pm from Goa after having lunch so with a couple of breaks, it would have been close to midnight 11-11.30 PM which was late, but we both had no other option then.
We could start only at 5 PM and that meant a whole lot of night driving. I was skeptical as I hadn't done any late nights. But my friend persisted. Said he would take the wheel around 10. I had to agree as we both had to report to work the next day. I took the wheel and we stopped for dinner at the Gadhinglaj intersection around 8.30 - 9 PM. I decided to drive for another hour or so before switching seats. I drove until 30 mins to Kolhapur from there and handed over the wheel to my friend. I decided try not to sleep sitting next to him and started talking.. 15 mins in and I could sense that I'm finding it difficult to stay awake. I told my friend and went off to sleep for a while.
I was awakened shortly after with dogs barking and as I opened my eyes, I saw we had parked at a roadside dhaba and my friend also decided to sleep.

Today when I look back, it was the most rational decision he took that night instead of pressing on. Our sleep was disturbed by the dhaba owner who had come to ask if we wanted tea at 4 AM :-)
We were close by then.. around Satara so that tea was very much welcome before we could finish off the remaining 130 odd kms.
I reported in late to office that day but I had no regrets.

I haven't made any late night journey of this sort and now resort to spending an additional night somewhere instead of pushing myself.
A recent trip to Goa with my wife and 2 year old kid, we started at 5.30 AM and safely reached Goa by 3.30 with all the stops necessary with a kid that young.
On our way back, we left around noon, drove only until Kolhapur and stopped by 5.30 PM, spent a night there and proceeded to Pune the next day. A few more thousands spent but those are less than the stress and the uncertainty we carry.
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