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February 25th, 2001

Fighting Driving Drowsiness

Fighting Driving Drowsiness

Since I make relatively frequent trips out-of-state to visit family and such, I often find myself returning home late at night. I like driving at night because there are a lot fewer people on the roads, but the downside is that I often have to battle my own fatigue. Fortunately, there’s only been one time that I’ve been so exhausted I felt the need to pull over (I ended up sleeping for half-an-hour in my car at the Maryland House).

Usually, I just try anything I can to keep myself awake and alert. I’ve found that food and drink helps quite a bit, as does dynamic music (with lyrics) or familiar music that I can sing along with. Sometimes cracking open the window a bit helps, or just running my hand through my hair to keep myself mindful and alert will do it.

What are you most successful anti-fatigue methods when you find yourself driving late at night? -ram

Posted in Everyday Life

FROM: Paul
DATE: Sunday February 25, 2001 -- 1:37:45AM
I haven't had this problem for a while, but man, does it ever blow.

Speaking of blowing, a fine way to keep myself awake involves throwing the a/c on full blast and rolling down the windows and throwing on some loud music. Alternately, I turn the dial to some station I abhor, so the emotion of disgust overcomes the feeling of drowsiness.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Sunday February 25, 2001 -- 2:37:03AM
Metamphetamines help. Just ask any trucker.

But seriously, folks . . . I've only had one time when I was really tired when I was driving. However, the mere fact that I was on a major highway was enough to keep my senses on full alert. As soon as I made it back home, it was a different story entirely.

FROM: liz
DATE: Sunday February 25, 2001 -- 4:53:34AM
like paul, i keep the AC on high and the music loud. also, i sometimes have to take vivarin. (i don't drive at night, but driving to my parents' house (5+ hours) makes me sleepy.) but taking vivarin is tricky -- i don't usually drink caffeine, so 1/2 wires me. be prepared to stop and pee a lot.

DATE: Sunday February 25, 2001 -- 9:25:10AM
I usually run my hand through Ryan's hair to keep me awake.

FROM: Terry M.
DATE: Sunday February 25, 2001 -- 11:39:28AM
I once drove from Portland, OR to Champaign, IL (2,100 miles) in 36 hours, which included a couple hours of sleep at a rest stop somewhere in Wyoming. I should have been drowsy, but I think it was the excitement of getting back to college for my last semester that kept me going.

My quickest uninterrupted trip was Boston to Champaign, IL (approx. 1000 miles) which I completed in I think about 16 hours. That was gruelling. I almost fell asleep a few times.

But my most drowsy trip was O'Hare to Champaign, IL which is only about 150 miles, but it was very late at night, I didn't get back until something like 4 AM (about 6 hours past my bedtime). The usual A/C and loud music helped, but barely (the scenery along I-57 is less than dazzling). I had a 9 o'clock class, so I couldn't stay somewhere.

Now, I just fly. In the past 1.5 years, I think I've driven out of the two counties I live and work in, exactly once (when I bought some heavy computer equipment in Seattle). Driving long distance is a hassle.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Sunday February 25, 2001 -- 3:41:44PM
I think that for long distance driving, I'd like automated highways. Something that could keep you going at 100mph or a similarly high speed... that I would like. Then you could sleep at the wheel!

FROM: Robert
DATE: Sunday February 25, 2001 -- 5:17:38PM
Some of you seem quite alright sleeping at truck stops. Doesn't that seem risky? If I were not the moral, upstanding citizen I am I would see you all as easy targets.

FROM: Old Fezziwig
DATE: Sunday February 25, 2001 -- 5:31:27PM
Anything peppermint can keep a drowsy driver awake.

FROM: Tony
DATE: Sunday February 25, 2001 -- 9:44:09PM
One of the advantages of '15 bass speakers in your car, I generally create a small (4 or so) earthquake with something particulary loud (usually either The Crystal Method or Prodigy) It keeps me awake, and since the lack of cars, no one usually minds. (note: technically I cannot drive after 11, but somehow I end up crusing around at 1 or so.)

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday February 26, 2001 -- 9:46:13AM
OF -- Peppermint schnapps being the exception, I guess.

Robert -- Yeah, I'm pretty paranoid about stuff like that. But the Maryland House seemed like the safest bet to me... not too many truckers or transients, mainly old women on a bingo expedition and church groups. Not a lot of risk there.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Monday February 26, 2001 -- 12:42:16PM
Ryan--The anedotal evidence I've heard is that truckers are really the last people you need to worry about when travelling. Just watch out for lot lizards.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday February 26, 2001 -- 4:37:20PM
Yeah -- I realized after posting that that it sounded like I was dissing truckers. Not intended. :)

FROM: Robert
DATE: Monday February 26, 2001 -- 9:55:22PM
Ryan--Just remember that truckers haul your tofu, boy!!!

FROM: Tony
DATE: Tuesday October 9, 2001 -- 7:36:16PM
Singing out loud to myself worked well

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