A place to discuss anything relating to the link between sleep and driving.
I worry most about driving, when my sleep has been poor. I had a serious car accident in the past after very poor sleep but am not over-sensitised, just sensible. I do the self-monitoring, choosing simpler driving routes, and the coffee with a 20 minute rest thing regularly. I have an idea 5 hours sleep is cited in accident reports in the media and that seems to tally with my experience (though it's not always easy to know how much sleep I've had.) It can be possible to be ok to drive in hte morning though and not at teh end of the day. I stay at a friend's home near work when that is the case but am lucky ot be able to do so. Other people's experiences would be interesting, maybe for others too.
I found an article on the Sleepio blog (get it by choosing it in hte menu that shows below all the time) by Simon Kyle about blue light and late night driving (29.12.12.) It looks like LED light can sharpen responses and doesn;t sabotage subsequent sleep (if I understood it right.) It can;t be moved to the Library for technical reasons but perhaps an expert could comment if asked, I will try. NB there are some interesting articles on hte blog including poor sleep linked to increased anxious reaction (article refers to 'emotional processing) and smoking and sleep.
I have never been in a car accident because I have fallen asleep but I can certainly understand how it is possible. I have turned down invitations to drive somewhere by myself, especially at night because I have been afraid of falling asleep either on the way there or the way back. I also have a vey hard time staying awake in a car or a train when someone else is driving. Why is it that the eyes seem to have a mind of their own when in a moving vehicle? My husband has a very hard time understanding this, as do I.
Although I have never nodded off whilst driving I have experienced extreme fatigue which seems to come very quickly and normally during daylight. I have found that the very best & almost immediate cure is to drink a bottle of water. The fatigue goes and I can carry on quite safely
Thanks for that tip t55ddy. I will certainly try that .
Driving takes lots of attention all the time. We read about car crashes in the news every day. We often don't know what caused these accidents. Many factors are involved. If we are sleepy it is even more dangerous to drive and nighttime especially when it is harder to see other cars. Sleepiness can be caused by missed sleep and by medications. It takes some doing to decide when it is OK to drive. Not sure this is helpful to you but it reminds us to pay attention and to ask ourselves are we OK to drive now.
Your right Caliman. Just as we need to ask ourselves if we are impaired from too much alcohol, we need to ask ourselves if we are impaired from lack of sleep. That's why I will say no to driving if I know that I am too tired to do so safely. Thankfully my job is only a 5 minute drive away as is most amenities. Some of us are not so lucky.
Lately I've been very scared by the effect that poor sleep has had on my driving. I've nodded off at red lights and once or twice, I've drifted off for a split second while driving. Generally if I feel that I'm too tired to drive, I'll pull over and take a nap for a few minutes or however long it takes. This recent spate of drifting off, however, worried me a lot until I realized that this has been happening since daylight savings time kicked in. DUH!!! The morning light woke me up way too early. And my sleeping time was reduced considerably. A friend suggested black-out curtains and I was amazed at what a difference they made. I am now waking up about 1-2 or more hours later than before, which as far as I'm concerned gives me exactly the number of hours of sleep that I want. Still, I am pretty vigilant about checking myself on trips.
Good to hear that you found out what was causing your sleepiness and it's great that you have found a solution. It is amazing what a difference a few hours can make.
I agree that we do need to be vigilant about how we are feeling while driving. It is our responsibility to realize if our sleep quality or lack of sleep is affecting our capability to drive safely. Also our responsibility to not drive when we are too tired to do so safely.
Sounds like you are having good luck with your sleep right now and that is great. Keep it up!
My biggest worry is driving and this is one reason why I continue to take a Zopiclone once a week. I avoid driving at night as much as I can and even try and avoid it late afternoon. I look after my grandchildren sometimes and i need to be safe to drive.
I don't want o worry anyone and hopefully this will motivate rather than discourage, but I've seen some comparison studies between insominiacs and people about 2(maybe 3) times over the legal alcohol limit. The insominiac group actually didn't perform nearly as well sadly; regarding reaction times, distance perception etc.. I've really felt sometimes I shouldn't be on the road after a bad night and now I know why. Still for those of us where it's a necessity it highlights how important it is to get it cracked.
I drive for a living, mainly transporting patients to and from hospital and the majority of drops involve motorway driving. For me and I am sure for most, motorway driving is where my senses and fatigue dwindle, I fight to keep my eyes open and stay alert. Would you recommend more caffeine?
Thanks for your advise Jinny, I will definitely consider getting in touch with sleepio to try and amend my routine if things persist to be a danger. I'm on a 8am-4pm shift pattern next week, which will be much easier because I won't have been up all of the day before I start my shift. The tiredness is at its height in the evening normally, by which time I won't be working.
I really resonate with this one. My rule is that I am ok to drive shortish distances as long as I have had some sleep. That said, I have had to drive 45 mins to the station to get a train when I have had no sleep, because I have a commitment at the other end. So far so good, but I don't think I should drive at all when I have had no sleep, which is thankfully not often now. But I am getting to the age when friends ask me to drive them for hospital appointments (I live in the country and it's 45/50 mins to the nearest hospitals). Tomorrow I am committed to driving a friend to hospital and back. I have just started sleep restriction and am getting 4-5 hours a night. Should I warn him that, if I don't sleep, I won't be able to do it? That's going to get complicated and I have decided just to hope for the best and have a big coffee before driving back.
The truth is our lives may require us to drive every day – mine does – and many of us live alone and don't have a helpful partner to step in. Needs must.
I can recall many times when my driving has caused a major problem. I nearly killed myself and my mother by pulling out in front of a lorry. I have hit a wing mirror going through a narrow road. I even nearly had an accident at a roundabout – I still don’t know if it was my fault or not but I didnt realise what had happened at first until I saw the look on another drivers face. I carried on driving only to be followed by the police – I pulled up in a busy supermarket car park and stayed at the cafe for an hour just in case they came looking for me