Stay Awake While Riding – Know When to Draw the Line and Not Ride
Editor’s Note: the below article is intended for Riders but applies to Drivers as well
Have you ever ridden home so late at night that you are having a hard time staying awake while riding where your head starts to nod back and forth and your eyes veer from the street? Especially if it’s cold then you anticipated. If so, you’re not alone as this dangerous trend is causing injuries and deaths in every city across America.
If you ever find yourself sleepy behind the handlebars or the wheel, it is imperative that you pull over and stop. It is far better to be late or take a little longer than to risk your life and possibly other around or with you by riding in an unsafe manner. Considering that nearly 40% of Americans have stated that they rarely get a full night of sleep, it is no surprise that sleep deprivation causes hundreds of accidents every year.
Anytime you start feeling any of the following symptoms it is time to pull over and find a place to rest of even sleep:
- Inability to keep your head up
- Inability to focus on objects in front of you or frequent blinking
- Swerving in and out of other lanes or following other vehicles too closely
- Finding yourself drifting into daydreams or other imaginations
- Lack or recognition for where you are forgetting the last few miles that have been driven
- Frequent yawning and muscle fatigue
Because there is no test for determining drowsiness, it can be difficult for a police officer or even a rider to determine whether or not they are too tired. Determining the type of person whom is most likely to drive or ride while drowsy is difficult; however, studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Authority have shown that young adults between the ages of 18-29 are more likely drive while sleepy than any other age group. Additionally men, shift workers and those with young children are considered to be a greater risk for driving while drowsy. Fatigued drivers display many of the same warning signs and risks that are associated with drunk drivers including slow reaction times, blurred vision, failure to obey traffic signs and poor judgment. Studies have shown that being awake for more than 20 hours results in similar impairment of having a blood alcohol level of .08, which is the legal limit in many states.
Below are some of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of riding while drowsy:
- Prior to taking a road trip, always get a good night of 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
- It is better to be late to your destination than to not arrive at all. Instead of leaving late at night or opting to not take breaks to avoid traffic, leave early in the morning after a restful sleep.
- Always have a friend riding with you during a long ride. This person can be responsible for watching you for any signs of impairment.
- Experts suggest that drivers and riders should take a break every 2 hours or 100 miles. During this break it is important to stretch your legs, go to the bathroom, have some liquids hot or cold, move around and eat some food.
- Never drink alcohol or take any medications that induce drowsiness before getting on the road.
- Drink caffeine – 2 cups of coffee equals two hours of being alert.
Remember to always be safe and make smart decisions while on the road. And remember to pray before saddling up!