Don’t sleep while speeding
The news of a bus falling into the sea in Bahrain because of negligent driving and one person losing his life is considered fairly unusual by readers in Bahrain.
Yet, the key detail remains hidden in on a small fact – the timing: the accident took place at dawn.
Late night and dawn accidents are inevitably caused by the driver falling asleep at the wheel and this is even more common than drunk driving!
Some studies show that 37 per cent of drivers report having fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point in their lives.
An estimated 21 per cent of fatal crashes, 13 per cent of crashes resulting in severe injury and 6 per cent of all crashes, involve a drowsy driver.
In Bahrain such a problem is usually not common simply because we generally travel short distances compared to large countries – even cross border travel to neighbouring countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait takes less time than interstate travel in Europe or the USA.
However, we need to factor in other changes – cars today are faster and many more of them are on our roads, making even the slightest mistake a risk.
Drivers need to stay more alert than even just ten years ago.
Meanwhile, although drinking after consumption of alcohol is not such a big problem in this part of the world, a lifestyle change means that many people – especially youngsters – work or party into the wee hours of the night and sleep deprivation behind the wheel is as much a threat on the road as drunk driving.
The Traffic department must make people aware of this risk and ensure that drivers are well-rested especially during the “danger hours” of late night and early morning.
The Bahrain roads are well laid-out and most busy roads have carefully-planned hard shoulders where drivers can pull over and either rest or call a friend for help if they feel they are losing concentration due to sleepiness.
It will save their lives as well as the lives of many fellow-road users.
- Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood
Captain Mahmood Al Mahmood