Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sleeping and Driving

I was reading this post on Blogher today and it was too appropriate.

I have fallen asleep at the wheel before.  We were driving across country and I was told that we would be home for Christmas, even if it meant leaving me.  So despite my exhaustion, I drove on.  And fell asleep.  My sister woke me up just in time, thankfully, but it was really scary.  I really didn't give two shits whether we got home for Christmas or not at that point.  I was sleeping, if that meant them leaving me, so be it.  Everyone was angry.

That was the worst of it.  When I was commuting from Maine to school in New Hampshire to my work in a different part of New Hampshire and back to Maine everyday I got very tired while driving.  I used to pull off to the side of the road almost daily for a quick 20 minute power nap.  It was enough to get me to where I was going.

Sunday was something else, though.  I was very tired and Ryder was asleep in the car.  I was literally drifting off so I took the next exit and began looking for the Dunkin Donuts that was promised by a sign.  I might have just been too out of it to find it, but I circled the rotary three times before getting off at a random exit.  I drove, but could not find the shop.  I decided I could not drive any further.  I parked in a nice residential area on the side of the road, but not directly in front of any one house.  I locked my doors and fell right to sleep.

I think I was asleep for 20-ish minutes when this man knocked on my window.  I put the window down and the man was saying "You need to be careful!  You have a child in the car!  Police come around here - you really need to be careful."  I said that I knew, but I was just so tired. He said "You are lucky it is just me.  The police could have come by and, geez, you have a kid in the car.  You really need to be careful.  Are you okay?"  I said I was, just very tired.  He then asked me for a ride which I said no to.  He continued saying the same things then started to walk off.  When he was a ways off, I zipped out of there.

I didn't know what had just happened.  I was tired confused and now scared.  Had I been doing something wrong?  Did I put my child at risk?  What were my alternatives?  I cried the whole ride home.  I was so very confused.  I am not sure what that man thought I was doing in the car, but I am certain that I was not.

If confronted with the same situation again, I am pretty sure that I will do things exactly the same.


  1. I think the guy was trying to confuse you into giving him a ride. Of course you weren't doing anything wrong, especially if it wasn't dangerously hot outside. I've taken naps on the side of the road with my kids in the car many times. It is really the safest thing to do if you are sleepy. Much better than trying to drive when you are so tired.

    Thanks for comment on BlogHer.

  2. It kind of sounds like that guy wasn't quite all there actually. I think it's way better to pull off and grab some sleep then risk falling asleep.


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