Apps sound the alarm for drowsy drivers

Behind the wheel wake up

Christina Strumbaugh is careful about her driving, now, that's because she recently avoided an accident after literally falling asleep at the wheel, "Next thing I know the rumble strips woke me up on the side of the road and I realized immediately I had been asleep and was terrified."


It was a wake up call but Christina is not alone. Helene Emsellem, author of "You Snooze, You Lose", says it's more common than you realize,
"Over 60% of people will report that they've driven drowsy at some point in time over the last year and about 35% of those people report
they have actually fallen asleep." It's so bad that one in six deadly crashes involve a drowsy driver.


There is some high tech help to keep you awake on the road. Some cost a lot, some a little. The least expensive options are apps for your smartphone. The "anti-drowse" app and the "anti-sleep pilot" are two options. Doug Newcomb, the Senior Technology Editor for Edmunds takes a look at each, starting with the "anti-drowse" app, which is free, "Basically you put in the time you're driving and you hit start. It pretty much hits noises to keep you awake."


The "anti-sleep pilot" costs $20. You enter a profile, then, along your drive, you're asked to perform various tasks, "When you're driving, certain screens will pop up. They'll ask you to perform certain functions, exercises, after you pull to the side of the road safely. It measures your reaction time and if it feels you're getting too fatigued it'll tell you to take a break." It also comes as a device that sits on your dashboard. Now that costs about $200. There's another for your dash, a no-nap device, it sits on your ear and sounds a buzzer if you nod off, and runs $20.


New cars are also equipped with cutting edge technology to keep you safe, "A Volvo for example has their driver alert technology and Mercedes-Benz has the attention assist." The Volvo technology monitors lane markers and looks for micro-corrections that inattentive drivers are known to make, "A lot of other cars have something similar called lane departure warning that basically does the same thing, uses a camera to look at the lanes."
But the bottom line is to make sure you are getting enough sleep before a long trip so that you are not putting yourself or other drivers at risk.
 

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