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If you find that you have become very tired at the wheel you are a hazard to yourself and to other motorists.

It is all too easy to become drowsy behind the wheel because the car is too hot and stuffy, you are trying to drive too far or you set out on a long drive after a hard day, a scenario that is all too common as families leave on their summer holidays.

Be warned, hundreds of drivers are killed each year on motorways by falling asleep at the wheel.

If you feel yourself becoming drowsy and your attention is wandering :

  • Turn the heater off and open a window for some fresh air. This should wake you up a little.
  • If on an ordinary road, stop the car in a safe place, get out and walk around for five or ten minutes.
  • If on a motorway, do not stop on the hard shoulder, either leave the motorway at the next exit and find a  safe place to stop or pull off at the next service area and walk around the car park for a while.
  • If you go into the service area avoid eating as this may make you feel even more drowsy.
  • Avoid fizzy drinks some of which can have a soporific effect.
  • Never drink any alcohol which will make you sleepier. Drink only tea, coffee or fruit juices, many of which are effective revivers.
  • If you can, lock yourself securely in the car and cat-nap for 20 to 30 minutes. You will awake better able to carry on safely.
  • Only drive on if you are sure that you are safe to do so and keep monitoring your state of alertness.

That long drive to the sun can be enjoyable but it needs careful planning and alertness if your family is to arrive safely.

 

Article © Graham Benge 2007

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