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Thread: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

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    Default Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Ever since I got out of my twenties, I've had issues will sleepy long distance driving. I guess some are immune to this and some are not. Anyone found a good way to prevent drowsy effects from watching the road, besides stopping for a while? (and NO, looking into a P7 doesn't help)
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    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    The best cure is adequate rest and frequent breaks, of course. You should stop at least every two hours and walk around a bit to prevent thrombosis from developing in your legs.

    I'd also recommend one of these "drowsy driving alert" devices.

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Windows down and music up - the worse the weather is, the better this works..

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Plenty of sleep before heading out. Like StarHalo mentioned, roll the windows down. (Especially if it's freezing cold outside). Adjust the seat into an uncomfortable position.

    And take some NoDoz. That's what it was created for.
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving


    Roll the down the window and hold a $100 bill out. It's very unlikely you'll be tempted to nod off and let go of it.


    In all seriousness though nodding off at the wheel is incredibly dangerous... not just to you but to others as well. There's not a lot of difference in your reaction times between being drowsy and being drunk. It's purely a matter of stimulus. You have to play mental games to keep yourself alert and active. If you're already tired and you have no stimulus your brain starts shutting itself down. Start playing the alphabet game... look for an A, then a B, then a C... etc. Talk to yourself, recite things from memory, go over what you've already done that day or what you're going to do tomorrow. Start singing (with intensity). Pour some cold water down your back, eat some snacks.
    But in the end the best thing is pulling over and taking an hour or so to nap and recharge/ reset.
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    Flashaholic dilbert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Caffeine! I stay away from the pill form since it usually makes me feel weird, but there are plenty of choices in beverages these days. I prefer the coffee flavored energy drinks, but a red bull or one of those energy shots are good if you don't want to make too many stops to pee.

    Of course, driving somewhere interesting helps too! I'm leaving soon on a 7 hour drive down the pacific coast.

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Story time!!!

    So, I like light (who doesn't?). I also like driving around. I decided to equip my car with HIDs. So I did my research, found out no matter what, they are illegal. I did it anyways, but tried to be safe about it. I got some Nissan Infinity FX OEM projectors, secured them in my headlights, long story short: My car now has some really good forward lighting that doesn't compromise others' vision.

    The downside: there is a cutoff that keeps me from seeing all the way down the street (I aimed mine conservatively, no auto-level). When I'm driving down country roads at night I'm constantly activating and de-activating my bixenon projectors to give myself a little more light ahead.

    The unexpected side effect: I am much more concentrated on driving and making sure I can see everything I need to without compromising others' ability to drive. I dunno, it gives my mind something to do while driving. But then again, that's me, I like light and driving.

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    Flashaholic* MarNav1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    The only thing that works for me is SLEEP! As a trucker I can tell you driving sleepy is very dangerous, don't do it! If you can't keep your eyes open STOP! You have already fallen asleep. Anyplace you are going isn't that important to risk your life or somebody else's. Some people are able to stay at it longer, other's not. Know your limits. (Nobody is immune to this).
    Last edited by MarNav1; 07-12-2009 at 04:30 PM.
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    Flashaholic* chimo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Ditto on the comments regarding getting adequate sleep.

    What I also find that works well for me is not listening to music, but to "talk-type" shows. I enjoy WNYC's "Radio Lab", "TED Talks" or "DNA files" podcasts. I find that they stimulate the brain instead of lulling it to sleep. You can also get audio books from the library or down-load them. HTH,

    Paul

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldops View Post
    Ever since I got out of my twenties, I've had issues will sleepy long distance driving. I guess some are immune to this and some are not. Anyone found a good way to prevent drowsy effects from watching the road, besides stopping for a while? (and NO, looking into a P7 doesn't help)
    I'm with you there. For me a steering wheel between the hands is like and instant sedative. I thought somehow it would be different with a motorcycle. WRONG!

    If I'm the least bit tired, or if a take certain antihistamines driving is a nightmare. Music and cold air seem to help but only so much. A good night's rest seems to be the only prevention.


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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Not a car driver here, but I've often wondered if some variation of the alerters present in all modern train cabs wouldn't be a good idea for a car. Basically, the idea is that the train driver has to push a button at random intervals (roughly every 30 seconds on average) in order to reset the alerter and keep the train from penalty braking. Moving a control lever (brake or throttle) will also reset the alerter. If they fail to either move a control or push the alerter button during the prescribed time, then the train brakes to a standstill and stays there for some predetermined time (usually a few minutes) before the driver can get underway again. Perhaps it could work similarly in a car. Fail to either hit the alerter button or move a control (either brake or accelerator or steering wheel) at some random interval of a few tens of seconds will trigger an alarm which starts off low, but becomes increasingly more annoying as the time out approaches. When the time out appoaches either the car brakes to a stop or the motor simply shuts off, without the ability to restart for a number of minutes. And of course the emergency flashers come on to alert drivers behind to the vehicle in the process of stopping. Now this may not initially sound like a good idea, but better a driver dozes off and the car slows to a stop than they fall asleep pressing all the way on the accelerator. At least if the car runs off the road it'll already be slowed down considerably.

    But anyway, good idea or not, such a system doesn't yet exist so here's a list of good suggestions. Best idea IMO if you're prone to dozing off on distance driving is to either let someone else drive or take public transit part or all of the way. Some people, no matter how well rested, just can't deal with the tedium of driving hours on end. Modern roads and cars which remove most effort from the driving process don't help matters either.

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    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    CB radio.

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    I've managed to almost doze off through many different techniques and by far the best things to do are stop and nap or stop and walk around a bit. Before I got diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea I would never get a proper nights sleep and as a result was always very tired and prone to drowsiness while driving. It may take longer but stopping and resting is the best thing for the body.
    I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    The cure for being drowsy while driving is to pull over and sleep. If this isn't an option for you (and it should always be an option), take a second driver with you and trade off who sleeps and who drives. If you can't do that, take a passenger or a pet to keep you awake. An annoying brother in control of the radio works well for me. Even a dog will probably wake you up if you start to dose off. Having someone to talk to helps. Wipe your face and eyes occasionally with a warm, moist hand towel. Blast the radio with music that will keep you awake. Roll the windows down or turn the air conditioner on. Use cold air to defog the windshield as warm air will make you sleepy. Drink hot liquids like coffee or hot cocoa. Hot liquids will stimulate your sense of taste and keep you up longer than caffeine pills. Spicy food will have the same effect. Hot Tamales candy will work if no restaurants are open. Chew some Jolt gum. Each piece has as much caffeine as 1/2 a cup of coffee and the chewing will help you stay awake. If all else fails, slap yourself in the face. If that loses it's effect, you'd better pull over.

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    put music you hate on the car stereo it will annoy you
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Quote Originally Posted by LuxLuthor View Post
    CB radio.
    What I have found for myself is to keep my mouth moving. I can eat, talk, or sing -- anything that keeps my mouth moving keeps my eyes open. Lux's suggestion fits that category well. Coffee and related drinks do only so much, at least for me.

    Hope that helps,
    Steve

  17. #17

    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Pull over and take a nap. Just ain't worth it.

    ^ My advice for use in a perfect world. ^

    Disclaimer: You should pull over and sleep. If you're tired, don't drive. You take full responsibility for the consequences of your actions, regardless of whether you follow my suggestion or not.

    The only thing I can add to what's been said is pain. Bite your finger tips, poke yourself with a pin, put a rubber band on your wrist and snap it every so often. It depends on your pain threshold, it really has to hurt to keep you awake.

    Seriously, if you're to this point then you're a danger to yourself or others, you REALLY need to just pull it over, you're going to get someone killed. Sometimes it's really just not worth the hassle. I've had jobs where I stopped working at midnight and had to be back at 5am. Two hour drive to my house in each direction. Screw that, I moved over to the passenger side so I wouldn't have a steering wheel in front of me and tipped the seat back. 5 hours fitful semi comfortable sleep is way better than one hour of normal sleep. Remember to call your wife and tell her what's going on.

    I've read(but have been unable to verify) that you are legally intoxicated if you've been awake for 22 hours continuously.

    Got Biodiesel?

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Quote Originally Posted by LuxLuthor View Post
    CB radio.
    Yup, this works. Calling someone on the phone can help too. I think there's a psychological aspect to this as well. Ever notice if you're traveling with someone and ask them to drive cause you're tired, and once you get into the passenger seat you're wide awake! Stay safe.
    Keep it simple.

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    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Have someone sitting next to you holding a gun, and with the instructions that if you fall asleep, they blow your brains out.

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    Flashaholic* Phaserburn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Coffee! The tasty lifesaver... simple, available everywhere, and inexpensive. Very effective.
    The Phaser: A nice EDC with great throw; heat and runtime can be issues.

    Best Diffusion Film!

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    Flashaholic* MarNav1's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Quote Originally Posted by LuxLuthor View Post
    Have someone sitting next to you holding a gun, and with the instructions that if you fall asleep, they blow your brains out.
    That's a good one Lux, I didn't think of that!
    Reality is usually scoffed at and illusion is usually king. But in the battle for survival of western civilization it will be reality and not illusion or delusion that determines what the future will bring.

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Quote Originally Posted by MARNAV1 View Post
    That's a good one Lux, I didn't think of that!
    Gonna be a bit hard finding someone with the right personality for that job. Sociopaths don't just grow on trees.
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Quote Originally Posted by LuxLuthor View Post
    Have someone sitting next to you holding a gun, and with the instructions that if you fall asleep, they blow your brains out.

    As a variant of this you could just use a USL Mag mod at 2 inches. It takes about 2 seconds to burn skin. Now LuxLuthor would probably use his "Vaporizer" but I think the Vaporizer mod might actually Vaporize skin!

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Hmm... Instead of a gun, how about a passenger with a low-output stungun?

    Masochists are a bit easier to find. In a pinch, a p*$$ed off girlfriend will do. Just needs a bit of motivation...

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    +1 on the gum, any gum, doesn't even have to be Jolt. I find that the 'chewing' action works better for me than slapping, loud music, windows down, etc. YMMV (LOL)
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Ok, I'll add a story too:

    I was 18, and stayed out late (not drinking - just having good ol' fashion fun causing trouble with my friends)... at about 1am, I drove home, and fell asleep at the wheel. I drove for about 15 seconds while zonked out, when suddenly I woke up, and saw headlights.

    I veered out of the way just in time, and kept on driving. Then, the car that I almost smashed did... a U-turn. And pulled me over.

    Luckily, my dad was a police officer at the time, and the sheriff knew my dad, and without questions, just told me to go home.

    That scared me straight, and ever since then, I've been very good at knowing when I'm too tired to drive - and then plain and simple, I DON'T!

    john

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Loud music
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    thanks....many good ideas here. It seems that the monotonous motion of road driving is responsible for much of this in my case. I noticed that if you get into a traffic jam and you are stopped your drowsy feeling gets better by looking around in different directions.

    The worst for me is a long drive with the heat on. It makes things ten times worse. The only thing I can do sometimes is pull over and walk few hundred feet then back.
    I will say one thing. I wish I could bottle that kind of drowsy feeling for anytime use. Boy...it would put an end to sleepless nights forever.
    The only light I need now is the "light at the end of the tunnel".....

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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    With regards to pulling over and sleeping, arent you guys worried that someone will jack your car and kill you? This is a legitimate worry of mine when I am driving and I have been driving for the last 3 hours and cant find the nearest truck stop or gas station and I am out in the boons with my head light the only source of light.

    Getting lots of sleep before hand is a good idea. For instance, if I will go on a 8 hour drive, I will try to get about 10-12 hours of sleep before hand, not eat a big meal before hand, load up on heavy metal and rock music on the iPod, and try to map out a route with a few stops along the way. Its a good excuse to get out of the car and take photos.

    The other thing I love is driving in winter, back in NZ, we used to go out on cruises in the middle of the night in winter, nice cool air was a god send to turbo cars.
    Used to drive with the windows down, with the wind chill, it was about 5 degrees in the car, and i would also just wear a Tshirt and shorts and driving gloves. LOL
    never fell asleep then.

    I am in my 30s now and notice I cant stay awake as much as i did before. so I try to stock up on sleep before hand.
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    Flashaholic Dave Keith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cure for drowsy long distance driving

    Oddjob mentioned obstructive sleep apnea and I would like to recommend you check with your physician about a sleep test. I was diagnosed and began using the CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine many years ago and it changed my life (and possibly saved it!).

    If you feel like you don't sleep well and are very drowsy during the day, you might should check it out.

    Sorry to sound like your Mom, but it was a life-saving test for me. The treatment is not surgery nor drugs.

    Dave

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