ZZZ… News January 7, 2009

Though there is an ever-increasing awareness about the dangers of driving while sleepy or fatigued, there are few reliable strategies for maintaining driver alertness. While this is often a concern for those in the transportation industry, automakers are also taking the issue to heart.

As reported in AutoWeek, Mercedes Benz has designed an in-car system that will alert drivers who appear to be failing in their ability to maintain alertness. Built into the E-class cars, the system is designed around a steering sensor and will provide a warning chime. For the complete story see http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2008812249991

The Mercedes Benz system is highly sophisticated, but you may be interested in the very simple over-the-ear devices which are also available. These are basically motion sensors that buzz when your head starts to fall forward. You can find an example of such a device at www.dozealert.com.

All alerting devices are meant to be that – alerting devices. The key to their effectiveness is that the driver actually stops and takes a rest break or nap. They are not intended to help you drive further or longer and can be very dangerous when used for such a purpose.

Strategies for Health and Well-Being

  • Take frequent breaks when driving. Stop every 3 or 4 hours when driving long distances.
  • Drink water as you drive. In addition to promoting alertness, it will promote the need to stop for a bathroom break. Drivers may find this annoying but it may be a very inexpensive life insurance policy.
  • Chew on crunchy snacks like carrot sticks, celery, apples and sunflowers.
  • Use aromatherapy such as peppermint or citrus to promote alertness.
  • Keep the interior of the vehicle cool.