Rishabh Pant Accident: 5 ways to avoid sleeping behind the wheel
Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant survived a massive car crash recently when his Mercedes-AMG GLE 43 Coupe collided with the divider near Roorkee in Uttarakhand in the early hours of December 30, 2022. The 25-year-old escaped the crash with a few injuries and confirmed that he slept behind the wheel on his way home. The incident has once again shed light on the perils of dozing off behind the wheel.
The early hours of the day along with cold temperatures make for just the right concoction to put the driver to sleep. Pant was lucky enough to not just survive the crash that left the performance SUV completely charred, but also avoid any other fatality on the road. However, long distances, especially in the dark, can lead to more instances of drowsy driving. If you are planning to drive at night, here are some important tips that you need to remember to keep yourself awake and alert not just for your safety, but for other occupants as well as the pedestrians.
1. Avoid driving when sleep deprived
You simply don’t get behind the wheel with little sleep. Winging it based on caffeine or energy drinks is an absolute no. Plan your travel in such a way that you’ve had enough sleep and rest before you begin the drive. Postpone the start time if you have to but make sure you grab at least eight hours of sleep.
2. Avoid alcohol or medicines that induce sleep
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a felony for the very reason that it makes you drowsy. Being drowsy would mean you aren’t alert and are at the risk of endangering yourself and others. Do not drink and drive under no circumstances. Moreover, you also need to avoid medicines that may be sleep inducing in nature. Medicines for allergies, cough and even epilepsy can be sleep inducing and will put you at risk again.
3. Take frequent breaks
Driving at a stretch may be great to save time but you are also putting your body and mind under too much stress. Instead, a smarter way would be to plan your breaks for a quick bite or coffee/tea and fuel from time to time. Use this opportunity to relax your body as well. Do some quick exercises to stretch, maybe a few push-ups if the location permits to keep your body and mind active. If nothing else, just relax and take a quick nap in the car itself to soothe your eyes.
4. Play music, distract yourself
Driving on long stretches can induce fatigue, which can lead to drowsiness as well. A smarter thing to avoid this would be to distract yourself from time to time. Play music at reasonably loud levels and this writer can tell you that singing along is a great way to stay active when behind the wheel. Another trick would be to chew on gum, which gets the digestive system working and keeps the brain’s natural reflexes active.
Also Read : How to drive safely in foggy weather: Key tips
5. Have a road trip buddy
Driving in winters would mean dealing with fog, low visibility, iced roads and more. There’s a good chance that you are driving at low speeds and with nothing exciting to stimulate your mind for extended hours, you will doze off behind the wheel. Avoid this by having a road trip buddy that will keep you engaged over the course of the trip. You can jam on some tunes or discuss old trips, anecdotes, debate over issues or play games that help keep you alert.
Feeling sleepy? Here’s when you need to stop driving
1. You are yawning frequently.
2. Your eyelids feel heavier.
3. You zone-out frequently with your mind wandering off to other thoughts.
4. You’ve drifted to another lane only to be alarmed by the rumble strip.
5. You’ve begun to react slowly to the things around you.