26 June 2006

Drowsy Driving

A French study published in the BMJ says that even when people are sleepy and dog-tired, they still go on driving.
The accident risk rose along with the frequency of self-reported sleepy driving. For example, drivers who admitted to having driven while sleepy a few times within the past year were 1.5 times more likely to have an accident than drivers who said they did not drive while they were sleepy. Drivers who answered that they drove while sleepy about once a month had a three-fold higher risk of a serious accident.

The bottom line, according to the researchers: Even though some drivers recognize they may be too sleepy to drive, they rarely pull over and rest to avoid an accident. More preventive measures are needed to educate motorists of the potential dangers of driving while sleepy, the French team said.

[Forbes Health, 23 June 2006]

Another classic case of you-know-what-is-wrong-yet-you-deliberately-do-it. How many drivers are guilty of these? Even doctors are guilty of these irresponsible driving episodes. I've heard of professional truck and jeepney drivers who consume illegal drugs like shabu --- that's "speed" or methamphetamine --- just to stay awake while driving, but that info is anecdotal at best. It's also a very stupid solution to a problem that can be remedied by taking a quick nap.

If you're already on the road and drowsy driving, pull over in a safe area, and doze off for an hour or so, before driving again. Don't worry if you will miss an appointment or be late. 'Better those outcomes than arrive dead, or be held responsible for the injuries and deaths of other innocent bystanders and motorists.

Driving in Metro Manila is already hazardous whether one feels sleepy or not. In a place where traffic lights and traffic rules exist only for decorative purposes, dizzy driving will assure you of an instant trip to the pearly gates (granting you've been good down here). Trust me, listen to your body when it cries for sleep and you won't regret it.

6 reactions:

ipanema said...

I like the last paragraph. :) They say if you can drive in Manila, you can drive in any part of the globe. Just make sure to leave that honking habit home.

bayibhyap said...

Last month I was driving a group of colleagues when I fell asleep momentarily and went off the road up the curb before I was jolted awake. I managed to get back on to the road without any incident but my colleagues were shocked!

bayibhyap said...


"They say if you can drive in Manila, you can drive in any part of the globe." *LOL* That's what the Malaysians say about driving in Kuala Lumpur and the Thais say the same thing about driving in Bangkok. In fact, I recall some expatriates in Kuala Lumpur saying that Malaysian drivers are among the rudest in the world and have no regard for the rights of the other drivers. Since Dr Emer was here recently, I wonder if he concurs.

But if you see the Nepalis negotiating the mountain curves in the rundown vehicles, you will have to agree that they put all the Filipino, Malaysian and Thai drivers combined to shame. The Nepalis will definitely win hands down.

But recent news reports also say that the mainland Chinese drivers work long hours and often fall asleep while they are driving. Apart from this, they also drive tourist buses down mountain roads without engaging any gear! Apparently this is done to save on petrol! This came to light after a few high profile accidents where the buses plunged into ravines when the drivers dozed off or when the buses veered off the roads because they lost their road holding as the gears were not engaged

Dr. Emer said...

IPANEMA: That's the reason why I can drive anywhere. *LOL*

BAYI: Yes, I've seen the driving in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, and I say, your drivers have more hope in reforming, Bayi. Here in Manila, the situation is much worse. Drivers here need more education and some serious psychotherapy. Be careful with your driving. Get enough rest and sleep first, before hitting the road. :)

ipanema said...

lol Bayi & Dr. Emer.

That's true bayi. Those mountain ranges are very challenging indeed. Add driving in Afghanistan. lol

Stephen said...

While still a teen, i was so tired while driving that i blinked and drifted half a lane. No accident, but i considered it a mistake. But now i know my limits, and pull over before reaching them. I've driven over a quarter of a million miles without injury. My most serious accidents have been in parking lots, properly parked, and no one in the car.