Last week we read a brief article in Woman's Day magazine about what to do when you have to drive and you're sleepy. The magazine suggested that readers eat peppermints, drink coffee, and turn up the music on the radio.
Articles like this make us crazy. This advice is just plain stupid. It doesn't matter how many peppermints you eat or how loud the music is. If you're too tired to drive, you shouldn't drive. Period. End of sentence. Even caffeine can only give you a jolt for a couple hours (and that's if you're not used to it).
Here are the facts. If you are too sleepy:
--Your reaction time is slow.
--Your vision is not as sharp.
--Your brain does not process information well.
--Your judgment is impaired.
--You are at a much higher risk of crashing your car.
In fact, you are in the same shape to drive as if you're drunk. Drowsy driving probably causes about a million accidents per year, though the exact number is unknown because it's hard to tell whether sleepiness caused an accident.
To learn more about drowsy driving, visit drowsydriving.org. Or, take this quiz about drowsy driving: http://www.aaafoundation.org/quizzes/index.cfm?button=drowsyquiz. To see the reality of drowsy driving, go to the Drowsy Driving Memorials site, at http://www.drowsydriving.org/site/c.lqLPIROCKtF/b.2964801/. Look at the photos of people who are gone because somebody thought it was okay to drive even though they were tired. Maybe those drivers had been munching on mints and listening to the radio too.
It's heartbreaking to sit at the funeral of someone who's been killed because a driver fell asleep at the wheel. This happened in our family, and we'll never forget the grief-stricken faces of our nephew's parents, the weeping teenagers at his funeral, or the sight of a 16-year-old wearing his basketball uniform, a basketball at his side ... in his casket.