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What should you do if you're driving and become sleepy? Select all that apply. What should you do if you're driving and become sleepy? Select all that apply.

  • A. Open the window

  • B. Pull over as soon as possible to a safe place

  • C. Take a short nap (15-20 minutes) in the passenger seat (or off your bike if you're on a motorbike)

  • D. Wait for 10 minutes until you start driving again after you've woken up

  • E. Speed up to keep your brain more active

    The correct answer is B,C,D
    Definitely - opening the window won't keep you awake. Once you start to feel sleepy, your reactions slow and you will eventually start to take microsleeps where you close your eyes while driving. This dramatically increases your chances of having an accident.

Driving while sleepy

Sleep deprivation is quite common in New Zealand, and so are jetlagged tourists on the road. As New Zealand takes ages to get to from anywhere other than Australia, tourists that arrive here will suffer from jetlag. Many tourists rent vehicles and in the first few days until the body clock has adjusted, sleep patterns can mean tiredness at odd times of the day.

So, if you are a visitor to New Zealand and you are jetlagged, the best plan is to take a break, or to share the driving with someone that isn't tired. People falling asleep at the wheel cause many accidents each year. Even if you don't actually fall asleep, your reactions are dulled as you become more and more drowsy.

As you start to become sleepy your eyes will start to close and you will take microsleeps of up to a few seconds. State highways in rural areas often have rumble strips on the edge lines and centre lines to warn you if you are drifting out of your lane, and part of the reason is to alert drivers that might have fallen asleep.

If you are sleepy, the only cure is to have a sleep. You will only need a short nap to give you a boost (unless you are chronically fatigued).