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Micro-Sleeping While Driving
This phenomenon—when a person drifts off to sleep for two to three seconds or, in some cases, as long as eight or nine seconds—can affect people who haven't had enough rest before vacation, which is common when a pre-trip to-do list is a mile long. Then, they'll try to beat traffic by driving during overnight hours. If you're going 60 mph, you're covering 88 feet per second. Fall asleep for three seconds, and you've nearly covered the length of a football field. Unlike German highways, which feature gentle hills and curves, most American routes are straight as an arrow. That monotony can add to people's drowsiness. Sinclair has fatigue-fighting down to a science—and his plan does not entail turning up the radio or rolling down the window; he says those measures don't work. Instead, pull over and drink something caffeinated (preferably cola, since the amount of caffeine is reliable, unlike coffee, which can vary). Take a 15- to 20-minute nap (it takes that long for the caffeine to kick in) and then do some jumping jacks, deep knee bends and toe touches. You'll get behind the wheel energized and alert.