A recent survey conducted by the RTA in Abu Dhabi has revealed that most accidents are caused by fatigued drivers, generally as a result of driving long distances to their work place. Sleep deprivation severely impacts human performance and reaction. Slower reaction time caused by slower reflexes prevents people from slowing down or stopping in time to avoid a crisis.
I was shocked to see how true this is. Yesterday late afternoon as I drove down the Abh Dhabi- Dubai highway, I spotted a fellow in the car to the side of mine. He was
visibly fighting sleep as his head would constantly droop as he dropped into 2 seconds of unconsciousness and immediately opened his eyes. I watched him for awhile as he fell asleep and woke at intervals, his car constantly speeding and slowing down as he did so.
I attempted to gain his attention by honking at him to signal him to pull over. Needless to say my efforts were in vain. I was relieved when he finally took the exit off the highway. Hopefully he would wake up enough to concentrate on taking the rights turns and stops till he got to his destination.
Feeling too sleepy or exhausted when driving can bring about the same result as when a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This boils down to a lack of caution not just with speeding and safety but also in overestimating our capabilities or in
underestimating the probability of a fatal accident.
So if you find yourself fighting the urge to close your eyes into blissful sleep or stretching yourself just to make it through the drive to get home, don’t!
Just pull over to a safe area and park your car. Take a nap. Refresh your mind. And then get back on the road. Be a safe driver, at least for the sake of others if not for yourself.