By in Personal

I didn't just fall asleep while driving!

Have you ever fallen asleep while behind the wheel of a car? I have, and it's a terrifying experience!

I was driving alone late at night, going down the interstate at about 75 mph (this was decades ago, when 75 was legal). I was tired, but had no idea that I was on the brink of falling asleep. Then, I woke up! That's what was so terrifying - to wake up and realize that you had fallen asleep while the car you were driving was still going 75 mph down the highway.

It could only have been a second or two that I was asleep, but the recognition of what could have happened changed the way I drive. On that occasion I immediately got off the road and took a nap. And ever since then, I've been very vigilant about not continuing to drive when I'm really tired.

But every once in a while I still recall that situation in my dreams. That's what happened today.

Being very tired after a short night, I dozed off here at my desk with my arms folded across my chest. It was my arms falling down that woke me up. But at the moment of awakening, my mind's eye saw not my desk in front of me, but a steering wheel. Panic! For just that split second I thought I had again fallen asleep while speeding down the highway.

The only thing that exceeded my panic at waking up that way was my relief when I realized I was in my office and not my car.

Image Credit » by tatlin

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Feisty56 wrote on April 17, 2015, 3:56 PM

I did the same as you --just once -- but it was enough to change my driving habits ever since. Once I was riding with someone, though, who fell asleep at the wheel on a four-lane highway. Thankfully, I had no trouble arousing the driver and everyone was safe and sound, but I could never trust riding with that person again.

msiduri wrote on April 17, 2015, 5:48 PM

I did once, a long time ago. I remember thinking that my eyes stung. I'd been coming home from an overnight shift into a dawn. What woke me up (an probably kept me from having an accident) was driving across the raised dots on the freeway. That was enough to make me scared. It was only a few more miles to home, but my heart was racing so fast and my hands shaking that it took me a while to fall asleep when I got home.

lookatdesktop wrote on April 17, 2015, 5:52 PM

I can relate to this for sure. Years ago, one very early morning, I was at a red light on Jefferson Avenue in Dallas, Texas, on my way to my work when I shut my eyes for a second and when I opened my eyes the man in the car on the opposing lane was shouting obscenities at me. From reading his lips he seemed to be shouting, "Wake the hell up you Crazy Fool." I have weaved on the interstate while extremely tired and highway patrol pulled us over and told the passenger to drive to the nearest rest area where he followed behind us and we were instructed not to drive for at least 3 hours until sunup. After the officer left, and it was about 20 minutes later, I told my friend, "Get out. I'm driving." We drove out of that county and into the next on our cross country journey from Dallas to Washington. I should have slept and then had a few cups of coffee at a roadside diner but that's what happened.

Firecracker wrote on April 17, 2015, 7:03 PM

Oh, how scary! Fortunately for me, I have never fallen asleep behind the wheel while I was driving!

maxeen wrote on April 17, 2015, 7:35 PM

How scary for you, and all the comments from ones who have done the same.

bestwriter wrote on April 17, 2015, 8:22 PM

These long distance over night buses have drivers who have companions who keep talking to them lest they should fall asleep and if they do that could spell disaster. You better not drive alone.

iwrite28 wrote on April 22, 2015, 4:43 AM

You're lucky nothing awful happened in those few moments -- either in the "nightmare" or at work :)

Last Edited: April 22, 2015, 4:47 AM

Dragonfairy1 wrote on April 24, 2015, 2:43 PM

Once I nearly fell asleep, I was driving back from Heathrow after a long flight and had a cold, it was a wagon passing which stopped me as it cut me up, my husband said I'd been slowing down and then speeding up when it was trying to overtake, he drove the rest of the way back.