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WWYD - driving tired

(36 Posts)
singme Sun 23-Apr-17 08:51:26

Not an AIBU as such as I don't think I was unreasonable but I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this.

Used to drive lots but now work close to home so don't do nearly as much driving these days.

Last night I went for dinner with friends in a city 1hr 20mins from home. Didn't touch a drop of alcohol, went to their house to pick up my car and had a cup of tea, it got quite late, 11pm so not hugely late! I decided to make tracks so left to go home. Felt wide awake at this point. Got some sweets for the car but not coffee.

Got on the motorway and there was a huge diversion. Think I missed one of the signs and got really lost. Pulled over a couple of times to check maps. By the time I put myself right had been driving for about 1 hour.....

Got back on the motorway with 55 mins to go until home and just felt....awful. Eyes were glazing over and just didn't feel safe. Found a garage and got a coffee. Thought about having a nap but then didn't want to wake up at 2am and still have to drive home! So I found a Travelodge and checked in.

Would you have done this with only 50 mins to go? I think it was the safest option but what if I couldn't have afforded it? What's wrong with me that I can't even drive a shortish distance at midnight? Any tips? Or just put it down to circumstance and I did the safest thing?!

disastrouslee Sun 23-Apr-17 08:53:41

I'd have gone on - but then the coffee would've woken me up I think.

I guess you did the right thing....but I'm never very good at that!

dailymailarecunts Sun 23-Apr-17 08:55:58

Bless you, it's the worst feeling when your tired and not near your destination. It's not a regular thing so I wouldn't worry about it too much.

I drive a lot (10 hours a day several times a week) and I've found cold air and regular drinks my standard recipe to keep me alert. If I'm tired and I think it's dangerous though, I grab a redbull, drink it as fast as I can and then have a nap. The caffeine and full bladder wake me and it's enough to power me through.

Etymology23 Sun 23-Apr-17 08:59:24

An hour twenty is a pretty long way late at night. I usually use a sat nag (and google maps too in case of road works!), then have music on loud and the air con on cold.

Firesuit Sun 23-Apr-17 09:02:07

You did the right thing. In terms of risk of an accident, driving tired is exactly like driving drunk.

If you couldn't have afforded it, you could have just pulled over somewhere and slept in your car for a bit. Even a short nap would probably have been enough.

Firesuit Sun 23-Apr-17 09:04:22

When you're that tired that your eyelids are drooping, even ten minutes is too far to go.

claraschu Sun 23-Apr-17 09:05:19

I would never go to to a hotel if I were that close to home because I would be worried about spending the money. I might shut my eyes in a car park , but would be unlikely to do more than drowse for 10 minutes. Then I would have coffee and maybe some sugar, keep biting my tongue, talking loudly to myself, opening the window, etc,...

It is a horrible feeling, being sleepy when you have to drive, but I think I would be to anxious to spend the money, though I would always advise my husband or kids to stop at a Travelodge, so I am not very consistent.

SpringDad Sun 23-Apr-17 09:08:25

I think the bottom line is that driving when that fatigued is a risk to you and others on the road.

Imagine you'd carried on driving, fell asleep and crashed into a family of four.

I think you made the right call. I've slept in cars before for that reason. But if you're concerned about tierdness see you GP.

Ecclesiastes Sun 23-Apr-17 09:08:36

You did the right thing, OP.

The only thing that is proven to beat tiredness is SLEEP.

A 20 minute nap in a lay-by might have done, but I'm guessing you went straight to bed in the Travelodge and slept soundly all night? If so, you were definitely too tired to be driving.

Brokenbiscuit Sun 23-Apr-17 09:14:22

You did the right thing, OP. Better safe than sorry.

Personally, it takes me ages to get sleepy, even when I want to, and I'm an owl, so I'm generally wide awake at midnight. Consequently, with less than an hour to go, I'd have just kept driving.

However, driving when you feel even remotely sleepy is not a risk worth taking, so what you did was sensible and responsible, even if it did cost you.

ijustwannadance Sun 23-Apr-17 09:14:25

You definitely did the right thing. Tiredness can be greatly underestimated in driving situations.

Devorak Sun 23-Apr-17 09:30:49

Better than killing yourself. You did the right thing. I've never needed to. I've napped though (once woken and breathalysed!). Music, a rest, coffee, open window (or aircon) all help. If my eyes were dropping I'd seriously think about stopping.

londonrach Sun 23-Apr-17 09:32:59

You did the right. I say that as one of my friends died as a result of being too tried to drive. Its not worth the risk!

BlondeBecky1983 Sun 23-Apr-17 09:35:31

I've slept in my car previously for the same reason but if you weren't comfortable with that, you definitely did the right thing.

Bubbinsmakesthree Sun 23-Apr-17 09:52:25

Tiredness can hit you suddenly and unexpectedly. If you were in a position to stop at a Travelodge it was the safest thing to do and more pleasant than napping in your car.

In a similar situation I was driving home from a party across London (hadn't drunk anything, didn't feel particularly tired and I thought urban traffic would keep me alert. My eyelids dropped momentarily and I swerved before jolting awake - a passing police car stopped me thinking I was drunk and gave me a talking to. I've been very careful since then.

singme Sun 23-Apr-17 10:03:10

Thanks all. My DH was a bit hmm this morning about it so wanted to get some opinions. I'm a regular night shift worker so used to being alert and on the go at all times of night, that's why I was so surprised to feel like that. I tried music but didn't have any CDs and the radio was either hardcore trance or some snoozefest on radio 4/classic fm.

Had a good nights sleep anyway. Have a big project to finish today which is why I wanted to get home last night rather than staying at a friends. At least I'm refreshed enough to do it now. I'll be more prepared in future!

specialsubject Sun 23-Apr-17 10:06:15

You did the right thing. It is never essential to drive and if you do it unfit, it may not be just your life that your destroy. There are other peoples loved ones, siblings ,breadwinners on the road.

Good for you.

RainbowPastel Sun 23-Apr-17 10:39:56

I think it's an odd thing to do with only 50 minutes to go. I would have put on some music bought a chocolate bar and just got home.

gamerwidow Sun 23-Apr-17 10:43:22

Only you know how tired you were and if it was safe for you to continue home. If you felt it wasn't safe then that's good enough. As a driver you have to make your own risk assessment which you did and shouldn't have to defend.

RedBugMug Sun 23-Apr-17 10:45:45

I'd have done a 10 min power nap, then coffee and banana and drive on.

but you did the right thing, recognising you can't go on and doing something about it!

plominoagain Sun 23-Apr-17 11:01:12

After having bounced up the hard shoulder of the M11 having literally dropped off at the wheel for seconds , I'd have checked in too . I've learned to realise the danger signs ( biting my nails repeatedly is the first indication for me ) and I stop at the first available opportunity after that and sleep for at least an hours nap . I have a 100 mile drive home after shifts , and have now got at least three different planned stop sites , and a number of preferred lay-bys if I really have to stop . I tend to nap, then have a drink of something, then get out and do something to get the blood moving again before I get back on the move though. Which is why if anyone sees a middle aged woman doing star jumps at an odd hour by the side of an A road in Herts , feel free to wave ...

UppityHumpty Sun 23-Apr-17 13:31:30

I personally would have pulled over, coffee, brisk walk, and turned my ac on full blast as it would have woken me up enough to drive home. But it's your body - if you felt unable to continue and needed a hotel then you shouldn't need to justify it to your dh. Unless he was willing to drive to you at night and pick you up?

CatsCantFlyFast Sun 23-Apr-17 13:37:28

I would have had a power nap in a services car park. I set the alarm on my phone for 45 mins/1 hour and know ill get a decent 30 mins. I'm drowsy when I wake so a quick walk around outside and a cold drink and am then wide awake and fine to drive

nympthinyellow Sun 23-Apr-17 13:49:00

I remember a guy on the news who died 5 minutes from home because he fell asleep at the wheel. Really not worth it. I would of arranged for somewhere to sleep after the dinner but then I'm not used to late nights anymore! Your DH should be happy to see you safe and well rather than getting a knock on the door from the police.

RockNRollNerd Sun 23-Apr-17 14:05:48

You absolutely did the right thing - I used to work in professional services and one of the other offices had a guy who was killed driving home one night - it was assumed he'd fallen asleep at the wheel (clear conditions, no hazards on road, no sign of braking to avoid wildlife etc) - he'd been working long hours with long drives and was knacered.

My biggest fear for my team who were often driving 2-3 hours every day for work was them having an accident when they were tired. It was my one non-negotiable with clients and internal senior staff - if they felt they were too tired to drive they needed putting up in a hotel; similarly if they were expected to drive every day to and from they were not leaving home before 6.45 and not leaving the client after 5.30.

The 'glazey' and unsafe feeling was a big warning sign - it's different from just being a bit tired and 50 minutes is a long time to fight that off. You did the right thing.

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