March 05, 2008

Asleep at the Wheel

[By Crabby]

The management of Cranky Fitness apologizes for not having a real post today. The Crab was in transit most of Tuesday and she found (surprise!) that when she got back she was too exhausted to think. And Merry is getting ready to go on an interstate journey of her own--to retrieve her beloved allergy-prone dog. So we're sorry--we hate to be lame, but... well, we got nuthin'.

And at least the Crab half of the Cranky Fitness team will apologize in advance for possible interruptions in service over the next month or so. (The cross-country move is indeed happening, which entails packing things up and completing renovations on the Provincetown house and climbing into the van and driving cross country with the cat who is too old to fly).

The worst part about blog slackitude is not getting to stop by often enough at all your fine blogs out there--which really is frustrating when there's so much great stuff going on there! However, eventually the Crab and Lobster will be settled and normal operations will resume. (Hooray for Merry, who even when moving is much more reliable!)

But there will be posts tomorrow and Friday, so please don't give up on us.

Oh wait, here's one thing: while flying in the unpleasant little airplane yesterday eating my Terra Blue potato chips and warding off crashes by gripping the armrest, I came across an article in USA Today. And it was a reminder that there are better things to fear than flying in airplanes.

The article was all about how people don't get enough sleep these days and it contained this rather horrifying statistic: Thirty six percent of people surveyed admitted to nodding off or falling asleep while driving.

Thirty six percent? Holy Crap!

Given that people are not terribly likely to make embarrassing confessions when taking surveys, you gotta figure the real numbers are even higher. Forty percent? Fifty percent? Sixty percent? Arrgghh!

Does anyone else find this statistic alarming?


There is nothing shameful about feeling tired. But please, if you're really, really sleepy, DON'T DRIVE. And if it sneaks up on you, pull the f*ck over, even if it means being late to something important or feeling creeped out by sleeping in your car.

This has been a Cranky Fitness public service announcement. Now let's all banish unpleasant thoughts of sleeping drivers from our minds--and have a very pleasant Wednesday!


  1. This study doesn't surprise the Bag Lady. In this sadly money-hungry society, the pace of life has increased to such an extent that people often won't stop to consider that although they DO really need the money, they can't spend it when they're dead.

    How exciting that everything is 'moving along' with your move!

  2. I only have a two mile commute to work, so I can usually make it wihtout dozing...:-)
    Did you hear about the pilots in Hawaii that fell asleep while flying? Scary!

  3. Thanks bag lady!

    And Missicat, I'm so glad I didn't see the Hawaii pilot thing before I got on the plane yesterday. Yikes!

  4. One of my close childhood friends lost his dad this way. His dad was driving back from VA at night, fell asleep at the wheel, veered off the road and... So please, please realize how serious the consequences of driving while tired can be!

  5. Slightly off-topic, but it's amazing where you can fall asleep when you are truly tired. I once fell asleep laying across two very uncomfortable plastic seats in an airport between flights. Never would have thought I could do that, but I was sound asleep for a couple of hours (fortunately I had a traveling companion so we could take turns napping).

  6. Javachick - I am also surprised at where I can sleep when I am tired. Have snoozed on those airport plastic chairs from hell and lived to tell about it! Though my back wouldn't speak to me for a week...

  7. I had an almost refreshing 20 minute sleep snuggled up against what appeared to be a parking machine of some kind at Charles de Gaul(sp??)airport in 1983.
    I have almost fallen asleep behind the wheel. We were driving back from Saskatchewan. It was 9 a.m. We'd slept the night before. I'd had my morning coffee. That was darned unsettling.

  8. Yes, I find it terribly unsettling. but not surprising. My cousin conked out briefly, but enough to do damage to her van when she ran into the vehicle ahead of her. This too was early morning, on her way to work, after sleeping well the night before, after having coffee and while waiting for a parking spot to clear.

  9. Just think...your pilot was probably sleep deprived, too, and possibly nodding off at the wheel!
    Ha, ha, just kidding!

    Good on you for driving old Mr. Kitty. It's nice to see people who love their pets.

  10. As long as "Otto-pilot" is on the job, no problem! "He" may deflate, but never sleeps!(see "Airplane")

    Sorry to be somber, but I've had to repair some very serious injuries where people have fallen asleep while driving, and several years ago, lost the 17 year old brother of a dear friend, who fell asleep at the wheel. They say that comedy is tragedy plus time, but I'm afraid there isn't enough time for some tragedies :-(

    Dr. J

  11. I have to confess I've fallen asleep at the wheel. I was working nights in Taupo which is about 50 kilometres from us and used to drive home about 6am after being awake all night.

    It would be so frustrating because I'd be only a kilometre or two from home but after that experience, I used to stop when I "knew" it was likely to happen.

    Nothing actually happened when I fell asleep. I woke up with an awful fright when an oncoming car passed me and realised that despite being on a long straight I hadn't seen it all. Scary!

    But stopping almost within spitting distance of home, when you're tired and want to go to bed, was SO frustrating.

  12. I agree.
    I tend to fall asleep anywhere at anytime, so I can't drive when I'm drowsy, as I have fallen asleep while driving...never again and luckily only for a blink, but if it happened to me I'm sure a I'm not alone. I take the bus or ride my bike to work and have fallen asleep on the bus too.
    It's why I make my husband drive when we have to travel late, but still hate driving late at night. I know *we* are awake...but can't vouch for others...

  13. Wow. Makes me glad I walk to work these days! It's hard to fall asleep while walking and the damage would probably be limited to skinned knees if it happened!

    Be safe out there, folks!

  14. I totally believe the statistic as scary as it is. Everyone (including me) seems to know someone who has done it, done it themselves, or knows someone who has been affected by it.

    As for the move, I can't believe you're going to be an east coast crab! I'll be so interested to hear how you like it in the new place!

  15. It is scary. 10 years ago before we were even dating, my husband and I were in a pretty nasty roll-over when he fell asleep driving over 70 mph on I-40. We didn't hurt anyone else, fortunately, but witnesses said we were 10-15 feet in the air and they were shocked anyone survived. Luckily we both walked out. We are very careful to pull over when we are tired now! AND - energy drinks are the devil when you are tired and driving. They give you a huge, sudden crash - one minute you're flying high and the next you're almost asleep.

  16. Hmm... yes, I can see what you all mean. My cousin was lucky enough to survive cancer just to die in a car accident later, after falling asleep at the wheel. It's terrible, and I miss her.

    On a lighter note, I used to fall asleep during saftey briefings in Basic Training. This wouldn't be funny if something bad had happened because of it, but fortunately everything turned out fine. Well, as a result, the instructor would make me stand up during the briefings, and I still fell asleep!

  17. I was gonna say--at least planes have autopilots. Maybe someday cars will too. Supposedly Lexuses know how to parallel park! (Except I hear that doesn't work too well.)

    I will admit to ONCE nodding offwhile driving--I don't think you could call it asleep--once when I was really in a stressful period and coming back home on my 40-mile commute. Just unconscious enough to barely veer over the yellow line...but enough to scare the bejeezus out of me.

    After that I developed a routine where I'd stop at a certain Shell station on the way home, have a cup of hot decaf and a little package of Rolos. Yes I know, decaf, but it was hot, and it occupied me, along with the candy, for the next 20 miles, and I never nodded off or was close to it again. (I hasten to add I didn't commute but once or twice a week, so I wasn't eating candy every day.)

    I don't have this problem any more--Mass Transit!!! :-)

  18. When I was younger, I was totally guilty of driving half awake most of the time. A near accident where I literally saw my life flash in front of me ended that whole sleepy while driving. It is not safe at all, agreed.

  19. The really sad thing is that it is the "professional" drivers that are falling asleep, behind the wheel of a big rig. Time is money and there's no time for sleep.

  20. Wow, some of these stories are so scary!

    Not only is it frightening the awful things that have happened to folks that you all know, but how quickly one can go from wide awake to asleep, especially when sleep deprived!

    It's funny that we only concentrate public education on drunk driving and rarely talk about sleepy driving--they're both deadly dangerous.

  21. Congratulations and helpful thoughts on the approaching move. My contractors told me today that next week they'll apply for the certificate of occupancy, so I'm not as jealous as I would be otherwise. Whee! Hope for the near future!

    And don't you know cats are born too old to fly?

    I have never fallen asleep driving; I have quite enough trouble falling asleep in a bed.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  22. You guys are all scaring the bejeebers out of me, you do realize that.

    MaryAnne in K., I'm like you. I have too much trouble falling asleep to worry about doing it behind the wheel. But that's not much consolation. Reading all these stories reminded me of driving up the coast highway late one night, near Davenport (Calif.). I had an ocean on my left and a mighty tall cliff on my right. And a van coming the other way drifted... across... the dividing line... into my path.
    I don't know if it was my horn, my flashing headlights, or my prayers that caused him to suddenly jerk back over the line. It is similar to drunk driving -- doesn't matter if you're sober, if the other guy isn't.

    Frankly, this is NOT what I wanted to read when I'm about to do an 800 mile road trip through hella winding & hilly roads, thankyouallverymuch. AND I have to get in an airplane to start my trip. Right now all I want to do is hide in my closet and quiver fearfully.

    What, me? Cranky? Naaaaah :)

  23. Well, maybe a little cranky. But definitely not Crabby. (Frankly, I think the word Crabby should mean "very nice person who just happens to have sharp claws so don't mess with her, thankyouverymuch."

  24. nerd alert.

    I never drive when too tired or after even one drink.

    jewish guilt?

    who can say :)


  25. I love the quote about keeping the plane from crashing by holding onto the armrest. I'm also convinced this helps to keep the plane aloft.

  26. 36%! That's crazy. I'm happy to report I'm not one of them.

    Good luck with your move. Moving SUCKS!



Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)