Reports say that the tragic road accident which proved fatal to the 2-year-old daughter of violinist Balabhaskar, and left him and his wife Lakshmi in critical condition, was caused by the driver of the car, Arjun, falling asleep while driving on September 24. In the wake of this terrible accident, Kerala Police have now put out a Facebook post about road safety and the dangers of sleeping while driving.
The post educates drivers about staying alert and awake while driving, and recommends various things to keep in mind while doing so.
The Facebook post says, “Driving is a job that requires a lot of attention and alertness, and therefore it is a job that requires ample rest. Feeling sleepy while driving is a serious problem for drivers, and driving late at night can be very dangerous.”
It goes on to say, “Even the best drivers can feel sleepy while driving, and that a large number of accidents take place due to drivers falling asleep while driving. Many drivers don’t even realise they are falling asleep, and if you begin to feel sleepy while driving, you must stop and take rest.”
The post identifies some signs to look out for while driving. “Frequent snoring, rubbing eyes, feeling tiresome, difficulty to concentrate on road and blinking eyes are signs of sleepiness.” The Kerala Police recommends immediately pulling over and taking rest if you exhibit these symptoms.
It also recommended that drivers get adequate sleep of at least 7 to 8 hours before undertaking long road journeys, and that such journeys be undertaken in the company of another person who can also drive, who can take over if the driver feels sleepy or tired.
The post warned users specifically against driving or travelling late at night, or very early in the morning before 5.30 AM, because the chances of falling asleep during these hours is very high. The chances of drivers in opposite lanes speeding or being half-asleep themselves, therefore posing a risk to other vehicles on the road, is also high.
The post warns that feeling drowsy or sleeping while driving is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. In perhaps a veiled and painful reference to Balabhaskar’s accident, it mentions that many accidents which result in entire families dying together take place at night, and that one of the main reasons for such accidents is drivers falling asleep.
The Kerala’s Police Facebook post ends with a rather poetic thought about how a driver stopping to take rest during a journey may lengthen the duration of that journey, but to keep in mind that it will also lengthen the duration of your life.