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Drowsiness is Red Alert!

Posted Sep 14 2008 12:12am

If we are paying attention, most of us know when we are about to fall asleep. We know because we feel “drowsy.” Most of us associate “drowsiness” with heavy eyelids, difficulty keeping the eyes open, and difficulty concentrating. It is obviously terribly dangerous if we are having difficulty keeping our eyes open while we are driving. If, at this moment, we try to fight off the drowsiness by turning up the radio, opening the window, or slapping our face, we are playing Russian Roulette with three or more bullets in a six chambered revolver.

The feeling of drowsiness is Red Alert! If we don’t respond immediately, we will die. Drowsiness means a large sleep debt is winning the battle for our mind and brain. There is only one appropriate response. Get out of harm’s way immediately! It is irresponsible and unacceptable to drive drowsy. Driving drowsy is the same thing as driving drunk! Even if we choose to risk our own life and health, we have absolutely no right whatsoever to risk the lives of others.

- William C. Dement, M.D., Ph.D

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