Oleg Radul is an experienced traveler. He recently lost his friends in a car accident. And wrote a very good warning text for all of us. Save it to yourself. And share with your friends, this is really important
40 days ago, my friends crashed to death on their way to the mountains due to the fact that everyone in the car fell asleep, including the driver. When someone unfamiliar crashes, you often think: “Probably, the guy was a reckless driver / inexperienced / overly self-confident, etc. This will not happen to us.” But this time it was the exact opposite case. Here, the guys died who constantly, over the past ten to fifteen years, almost every month, drove either to the mountains or to the sea, winding thousands of kilometers without stopping. They have more than enough long-range experience! As for Vadim, who called himself a “professional balabol”: he could chat for days on end with any driver, even a stranger. That Smolin, who drove more accurately than me, always closely monitored his condition. All of them perfectly knew how to fight sleep, feel the onset of fatigue, and understand the moment when it is time for the driver to change … Having learned about the accident, many could not even believe that one of them could simply fall asleep while driving. And yet it happened. Only once, but in a way that was enough for all three.
Looking at their disfigured car, having visited the scene of the accident, looking through the records from the recorder, I quite clearly realized for myself such a simple, in general, logical thing: “I cannot say that I am smarter or more experienced than any of them. What age, what experience, what driving style we all have the same plus or minus. So I, just like them, can easily die on the track in this way."
And here I again return to my old question: how to avoid this. Starting to ride long distances, ten years ago, the first thing I did was to look for the most effective methods of fighting sleep. I remember that I had a whole arsenal of different ways to cheer up: coffee, seeds, energy, walking, exercise, etc. And then I realized that I was looking for something completely wrong! None of them can guarantee my safety. After all, this is the paradox: all these are nothing more than ways to continue moving, and most importantly - to be able to stop in time! And here the folk wisdom "Tired - take a rest", which I have heard a million times, does not channel. What do you mean tired? All of Moscow is going home after work tired, and why? Where are the objective criteria, when fatigue can still be tolerated, and when is it definitely time to go to the sidelines? And these criteria should be explicit and unambiguous. In general, I have five such criteria. They have been tested by hundreds of sleepless nights, both by car and yacht. And the rule is very simple: it is better not to bring yourself to such a state at all. But if at least one of these signs suddenly comes, I immediately change without hesitation. Or, if there is no one to change with, I stand by the side of the road to sleep. Because you can't go further. So, here are five objective signs that you are about to fall asleep:
1. You notice the moment of blinking
This is the most explicit and unambiguous criterion. Try to remember the moment when you last blinked? That's the same! The fact is that in a normal state, a person does not at all notice the moment when he blinks. It happens so quickly that you just don't pay attention. But when this becomes obvious, then we are not talking about the usual blinking, but about the beginning of the shutdown - immediately to the sidelines!
2. Optical illusion
The figures on the side of the road seem from afar to be one thing, and when they approach, they either turn out to be something completely different, or disappear altogether. This is a borderline stage: the eyes are still open, but the brain does not have time to process all the incoming information - it is already asleep! Another couple of minutes, and consciousness will be completely switched off.
3. Vision does not have time to focus
I try to shift my gaze from the road to the instruments, and immediately return it back to the road. What was the mileage there? Once again: a moment on the instruments, and again on the road. In a normal state, vision has time to reorganize, and everything is perfectly visible. But if you fall asleep, then your gaze becomes glassy, your eyes do not have time to adapt to the conditions, it becomes impossible to take a quick glance at the devices, and immediately read the required readings.
4. Too lazy to strain the brain
Try to multiply 18 by 3. Normally this is not a problem. But a falling asleep person is not that difficult … he doesn’t need it. Vpadlu even start. For the same reason, too lazy to talk. Because for this you need to strain, keep the thread of the conversation in mind, choose the words. By the way, any verbal communication loads the brain well, therefore, firstly: whoever talks, he will not fall asleep; and secondly: if there is silence in the cabin, then soon everyone will be cut down. At this moment, it is also time to stop, although it seems that you can still go. This is exactly what happened for the guys (according to the registrar): at first there was silence in the cabin, and after a while - an accident. By the way, it is not just empty chatter that invigorates most of all, but conversations on some exciting topics, be it sex, politics or some kind of holivar. So we stock up on the track with sore topics.
5. Minor violations
Did you forget to switch to the close one two or three times in a row? Time to sleep. Can't remember the last road sign? And the penultimate one? No way? Sleep! Stopped on flashing yellow? Green? Well, you get the idea … And a bonus is an express test for the passenger, how to unobtrusively check the driver for drowsiness. The trick is that it is useless to ask him: “Hey, are you okay?”. The answer will always be the same: "Okay." Instead, you need to ask him some questions that require thought or attentiveness. For example: “Where are we now? What kind of settlement did you pass?”, Or“How much is left for us to …”, or even better something more complicated, like:“What do you think is the best present for your birthday?”. And if the answers seem too simple or inadequate, it's time to change. And if the patient is rather alive, then in order to get better, it is advisable to start arguing with him about something. At least about high matters, at least it is stupid to troll him - do not care. The main thing is that during a heated debate, it is impossible to fall asleep purely physically, it has been verified.
Generally, main rule: the brain does not turn off immediately, it turns off gradually. Like a freezing computer, at first it works at 100%, then at 50%, then at 25% and then bam - it's already hanging. It is quite possible to catch this transition from 100% to 50%, if you know what to look for and how to check. And you need to look for any laziness and check yourself for inhibition of consciousness.
And yet the question remains: if I can control myself, is that enough to safely drive long distances alone? To be honest, I'm not sure. The catch is that along with the dulling of consciousness, the feeling of fear is dulled. That is, you understand that you are falling asleep, by all the criteria of a sane person, you are, in fact, on the verge of death, and you realize this, but at this moment you are not at all scared! Because the brain is almost asleep. And it seems: “Just think, I'll drive another XX km to the nearest XXX, and then I'll sleep / change”. So all these signs are, of course, good, especially when you are driving alone. And we must try not to bring them up to them, and if at least one of them comes - stop immediately. But this is more a necessary than a sufficient safety condition. The only option in which I am 100% sure, I see a plus to all this, driving with a partner and constant conversations. Not so much in order to stay awake, but in order to constantly control each other (see point 4): the conversation subsided - both are asleep. Yes, this is a very strict rule. But, for example, when we went around the world, there were four of us, and we easily adhered to it. Recently, I began to score more and more on him, sometimes due to the lack of interlocutors, and sometimes just like that. But, apparently, in vain. Life, damn it, knows how to show how not to do it. It is foolish not to study. Take care of yourself.