Don’t Doze And Drive
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In June of 2015, two of my friends and I decided to drive to Nebraska to meet up with some friends of ours on a fishing trip. We left at about six in the morning on Friday the twelfth and decided to go back home at around midnight the following Sunday. The trip was a blast even though I didn’t catch a single fish. We canoed through a lake, buried each other in sand, made a fire (which took about two hours to make…don’t judge us, it was cold and windy). The car ride to Nebraska and back took about three to four hours. The drive there wasn’t too tiring considering I had gotten enough sleep but the drive back however was another story.

About a week before the trip, me and one of my friends, Angel Castillo decided to flip a coin to see who would be the one to drive there. I ended up losing, so I got the wonderful opportunity to drive through Nebraska for hours. Exciting! Sure, it wasn’t the most eventful road trip but once we met up with our friends, it was well worth it.

At around midnight on Sunday, when the three of us decided to make our way home, I was a tired wreck. We had spent the day swimming in a lake and carrying all of our beach supplies (fishing rods, coolers, backpacks) down a hill. As my two friends were packing up everything, I remained lying on a blanket, getting as much rest as I could. Once we made our way back up the hill and into my car, Angel asked if I was okay to drive. “Yeah, I’m good,” I said. I felt tired but I didn’t want that to stop us from getting home. I even thought to myself how important it was that I kept my word when I said I would be the one to drive there and back. Besides, I could handle it. What harm could it be?

During the first hour of driving home, I felt relatively okay. I told myself that I would be wide awake well through the drive home. However, once I got about half way home, that’s when my lack of sleep started to get to me. I was unfit to drive, but I kept going. I never did fall asleep behind the wheel, but it sure felt close. I had moments where my vision would get blurry. My eyes would sometimes close just for a few seconds then suddenly open wide once I realized I was driving. At one point, I even jumped back in my seat when I thought a car was heading in my direction when it was actually on the other side of the road. A few times, cars even passed me up when they noticed me slowing down. I even had moments where the car would swerve onto the side of the road that had bumps designed to keep sleepy drivers awake. “Do you want me to drive?” Angel asked me once we stopped at a gas station. “No, it’s okay.” I replied. The hell it was. I tried to find a station on the radio that wasn’t filled with static so that I could have some music to keep me awake, but that failed. Eventually, I told my friend to start a conversation with me so that I could stay awake.

Me: Hey, can you say something so that I can keep awake?

Angel: Like what?

Me: Anything, just talk so I can stay awake.

Angel: I don’t know what to talk about.

Me: Whew, alright, I’m talking. Saying things so I can stay awake. (Taping on steeping wheel) I got this.

At about four in the morning, we made it home. Later that summer when we talked about the trip to other friends of ours and how much fun we had, we would also bring up how hard that sleepless ride back home was for me and joke about it.

Later that year, an advisor from my former college, asked if I had done anything fun over the summer. I told him about how much fun my friends and I had and ended with how I continued to drive regardless of how tired I was. When I told him about my drive back, he said that he knew of a student who had driven with some friends of his who lost his life from falling asleep behind the wheel. I was surprised and sorry to hear this. After I heard him tell me that I felt that what happened to me was much more serious. A sleep deprived driver can be just as hazardous as a driver who is intoxicated. Remember, no matter how confident you may feel to drive when you are tired, take a rest or let someone else drive because it can be much more dangerous than you think.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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