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wundayatta's avatar

Have you ever fallen asleep at the wheel?

Asked by wundayatta (58648points) December 11th, 2008

Me and my cousin were driving home for Christmas in his bug. It was a ten or twelve hour drive, and we decided to do it overnight. Towards morning, it started to snow lightly. There was no accumulation on the driving surface, but the shoulder had maybe half an inch.

The sky was lightening and we were crossing a state border. I was riding shotgun at the time, and had woken up. I little while before I’d asked my cousin if he was ok, and assured me there was no problem. So I’m sitting there, and slowly, ever so slowly, we start drifting to the right. Then we’re into the snow, and I know something is wrong. My cousin has fallen asleep at the wheel.

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16 Answers

gimmedat's avatar

I have fallen asleep at the wheel a number of times when driving from the Midwest to California. It is the scariest feeling, and I use it as my cue to find someplace safe to sleep for a couple hours.

EmpressPixie's avatar

I’ve felt myself nodding off while driving. The scariest was going to my girlfriend’s house after picking my mom up at the airport for graduation. I’d dropped my mom off at a hotel and decided to go to my girlfriend’s because she was closer than the dorm and to hang out. I almost fell asleep at least three times—I was scared and worried, but apparently not enough to get a good pump of adrenaline. I made it safe and sound, but eeeesh. The worst part was that it was such a short drive, but no the kind where I could just park somewhere and walk.

Knotmyday's avatar

I used to have a 60-mile freeway commute, when I was working nights. I bless CALTRANS for installing the rumble strips; that “BWAAAAAAAH” sound saved my life more than once.

shadling21's avatar

I’ve never fully fallen asleep, but even being drowsy while driving freaks me out. I had a friend get into an accident when he fell asleep at the wheel- he came out of it okay, but it definitely scared the crap out of everyone he knew.

@Knot- What are these “rumble strips” you speak of?

EmpressPixie's avatar

@shad: If you got off the road, it makes your car rumble and makes a horrible noise. The strip is usually about a tire or two wide, but if you are just drifting, that’s all you need to be jolted.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

I’ve fallen asleep three times; once on a drive from Missouri to the Northeast (I was going to see my boyfriend, there was a ten hour drive ahead of me, and I wanted to get a jump start on it without quite enough sleep), once driving home from a party at about 6 am (once again, not enough sleep) in which I managed to run a red light asleep, and once while driving on the highway out to pick someone up, where I went across two lanes, uninjured. I’ve been really lucky in the sense that I’ve never gotten hurt, and I scare myself every time. It’s really dangerous, I know, but I’ve definitely become more aware of when I am just TOO tired.

cdwccrn's avatar

Briefly, and mercifully, without catastrophe.

Snoopy's avatar

Ditto to cdwccrn.

It was for split seconds, occurring at closer and closer intervals. I tried caffeine, loud radio, singing, window down, stopping every so often to walk, etc. I was trying to get to Chicago from Arkansas after having been up for 24 hours. Driving by myself. At night. In the rain.

At some point my body just said “enough”.

Finally, somewhere in the middle of the night, I pulled off and rented a hotel room. I was so exhausted I slept in my clothing on top of the covers. I woke up early the next morning and drove the final few hours to Chicago. I think I slept the rest of the day and through that night.

I was stupid and I would never push myself like that again….

cookieman's avatar

Yup. Twice. It is very scary.

One time I started out in the far left lane (4 lane highway) and woke up in the far right lane. Had no idea how I got there.

Ditto to Knot my day: the rumble strips are the best.

I think I read somewhere that more people die on the highway from falling asleep than from driving while intoxicated.

Bsilver's avatar

I have, a few times, and the first time was woken up by the rumble strips a little too late, and saw a lamp post in front of me. Hit it head on, knocked it over, and totalled my car. I was fine, just a banged knee on the console, and a seat belt burn on my neck, and expectedly shook up.

Ever since then, if I start feeling drowsy and still have more than 5 minutes left, I find a place to take a nap.

Bluefreedom's avatar

Yes I have and here was my worst and scariest experience ever -

When I was in high school, my girlfriend and I were returning home from a trip to California and I fell asleep at the wheel while driving. It was about 2 a.m. and there was no traffic on the interstate, thank god.

I don’t know how long I was out but when the car finally came to rest, we were in the middle of the dirt median separating the interstate and we were facing oncoming traffic. It happened very fast and all I could determine is that the car had completely spun 180 degrees and come to rest where it did.

To this day, this is one of the most frightening experiences I have ever had in my life. My girlfriend and I were lucky not to have been seriously injured and/or killed in that incident. Needless to say, I’ve never let myself fall asleep behind the wheel of a car again.

syz's avatar

I’ve never fallen asleep, but I have hallucinated from fatigue.

I worked all day, drove from NC to Florida to rescue some tigers from a private zoo going out of business, loaded them up, and then turned around and drove back. Everyone else was asleep and I started to see flashing lights where there were none, the lines in the road started to wave back and forth like seaweed in the tide….I stopped and got a room for a couple of hours.

Snoopy's avatar

@syz If I was a fellow patron, I would freak if I heard lions roaring in the parking lot at Holiday Inn! :)

ahankes's avatar

Yep. The rumble strips woke me up, too. Bless them and whoever thought of those things!

Ghost_in_the_system's avatar

Yes. Once . Just once. After totalling that car and very nearly myself, I have gotten more careful.

Sophief's avatar

I don’t drive, so no.

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