4 clock in the morning: Hans W. sits in the car for hours on the way to Italy. He should actually take a break, but he has to be at the coast at 10 o'clock. He shivers, yawns, his head is throbbing and his eyelids are heavy. At the last exit from the highway on the highway he has interconnected. It is dark and already three times he had difficulties to keep his car on the now dead straight track in the lane. All these are typical and alarming signs of the danger of the appearance of a so-called microsleep. According to the German Traffic Watch (DVW) in Meckenheim near Bonn every fourth traffic accident is due to a microsleep.
Secondsleep - what does that mean?
Under the colloquial term, which is technically referred to as a fatigue attack, one understands an unwanted, often only a few seconds lasting Einnicken. This phenomenon occurs especially in road traffic with excessively long and monotonous, low-variance rides. People at night are particularly at risk between 2 and 5 o'clock.
Significant harbingers such as driving errors, poor tracking, irregular speed or frequent interconnection and the general feeling of fatigue should not be underestimated.
Such attacks of fatigue occur not only due to a recent lack of sleep, but also as a result of general sleep problems. More and more people are no longer able to sleep well at night, for example due to excessive stress or short respiratory arrest (apnea). Even chronic diseases or chronic pain can lead to sleep disorders.
It is also proven that one or more sleeping passengers increase the risk of microsleep.
Which groups are particularly at risk?
- Commuters and shiftworkers who often overheat their cars, especially at low outside temperatures, and prefer to sleep in the soft and comfortable seats.
- Bad and not enough sleepy people, often after a strong coffee, on the way to work on the morning.
- Truckers behind the wheel after the often short and therefore less relaxing weekends on Sunday evening or Monday morning. They are usually under enormous time pressure, extremely long trips without breaks are the frequent consequence.
- Teenage disco visitors racing home on lonely and monotonous country roads at night, often accompanied by sleeping passengers.
- Vacationers on their way to the faraway destination. To avoid the expected traffic jams, the journey often begins after midnight or early in the morning. The desire to arrive on time often drives otherwise otherwise prudent drivers to dangerous overestimations.
Tips for prevention
- Drivers should start well-rested, eat only slightly digestible and drink alcohol the evening before. Roast pork and Co. make you tired and are also to avoid while driving. Instead drink a lot, preferably water, tea or diluted fruit juices.
- Make some variety, for example with music, but do not be distracted.
- Sufficient oxygen is also important: avoid smoking and occasionally open a window.
- And very important: Every two hours to take a break with lots of exercise, stretching and stretching exercises. Already at the first signs of tiredness should be rested and, if necessary, a little sleep.