Falling asleep while driving, even if just for a moment, can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. It seems more and more people are falling asleep while behind the wheel or driving drowsy. According to an article published on the Huffington Post earlier this month, one in ten drivers in the UK have admitted to ‘nodding off’ while driving. Here in the States, it’s also common. In a world where we can never seem to get enough sleep, it would be nice to use technology to keep us awake.
Aside from the lives that are at risk when we drive drowsy, there is also a financial aspect to it. Think about what happens when drivers of heavy machinery fall asleep while driving. That one mistake can cause millions of dollars of damage on construction sites.
To help prevent this from happening, a new technology in what’s called The Fatigue Monitoring System uses an infrared camera (which can see through sunglasses) to determine if the driver is about to fall asleep. It does this by analyzing the driver’s blinking pattern. If the driver is about to dose off while at the wheel, the seat start violently vibrating, an alarm goes off, and a voice says “eyes on the road.”
There are even apps designed to keep you from falling asleep while driving, but the problem is, you have to launch the app in anticipation of falling asleep. Nobody I know ever intends to fall asleep behind the wheel, so I don’t know how effective these would be. You can check those out at Anti Sleep Pilot and Drive Awake.
If you prefer to prod yourself into staying awake the old fashioned way, you can always try the traditional methods. Those include drinking coffee or energy drinks, blasting the radio, blasting the air conditioner or heat, turning on the car’s interior lights, opening all the windows, or wiping your face with a cool, wet cloth. What techniques have you used to keep yourself from falling asleep behind the wheel?