Drowsy Driving

Not to keep harping on a topic about how we care about our students but the more you know the more you can do. Or in this case, prevent.

Young drivers have a lot put on them. They are responsible for most of the accidents and deaths related to traffic accidents. A new study shows that a large portion of accidents caused by driver fatigue or drowsy-driving accidents are also caused by young drivers.

Boy, we just think we are invincible when we are young don’t we? Don’t need to drive carefully, it will be alright. Don’t need to stop fully at that stop sign because nothing will happen. It is OK to speed because I’m a great driver. One of the things I was guilty of when I was a young driver was driving when I was over tired. I could have died.

I was working on what is called a swing shift, 2 weeks day shift and 2 weeks nights. The company had a big order so we were on 12 hour shifts so the machines were constantly running. It was the end of the second week of 12 hour night shifts and I was driving home as the sun was coming up. I was driving my pride and joy, a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am Special Edition. Gorgeous car. I had modified it for street racing to show you what a genius I was. But keep in mind, this was the very early 1980’s so there were a lot less people driving and there were plenty of open roads where I lived.

I remember making the last turn before a real long stretch of straight road ahead. I had been fighting micro sleep like crazy. My eyes kept forcing themselves shut and I’d realize it and shake my head to wake up. As I rounded that turn I remember thinking that I was almost home and soon I’d be in my bed sleeping. That was the last thing I remember. I woke up with my car still in it’s lane going 70 MPH. I had passed my exit by over a mile and was barreling down the high way sound asleep I drove like 3 miles. Lucky it was on a weekend and the road was empty.

As I was coming to I heard the roar of that engine and as my faculties were coming back I was thinking “How am I hearing my car running and at such a high speed”. Then I jolted awake and realized I very well may have died and wouldn’t even had known it. I pulled over on the shoulder and being winter and up north I rubbed snow all over me. I didn’t care how dirty it was, I almost died. The adrenaline and the cold woke me up enough that I made it home but I could have died.

My point is it creeps up on you like a fog.  You don’t know it until it is too late.  You really need to be careful of driving while tired.  It is super easy to get in trouble.