New technology aims to stop drowsy driving - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

New technology aims to stop drowsy driving

You know the feeling when you're tired on a trip but you keep driving just a little bit further?

Christina Strumbaugh is careful about her driving these days. That's because she feels especially lucky to have avoided an accident after literally falling asleep at the wheel.

"Next thing I know the rumble strips woke me up on the side of the road and I realized immediately I had been asleep and was terrified," she said.

It was a wake up call to be sure. She's far from the only one it's happened to.

"Over 60 percent of people will report that they've driven drowsy at some point in time over the last year and about 35 percent of those people report they have actually fallen asleep," said Helen Emsellem with You Snooze, You Lose.

And many end with horrible consequences.

"One in six deadly crashes involve a driver who was drowsy," said Emsellem.

But now, there's some high tech help to keep you awake on the road. The least expensive options are apps for your Smartphone. The Anti-Drowse app and the Anti-Sleep Pilot are two options.

Anti-drowse is free.

"Basically you put in the time you're driving and you hit start. It pretty much hits noises to keep you awake," said Doug Newcomb, senior technology editor with Edmunds.

Anti-Sleep Pilot is $20. You enter a profile, then, along your drive, you're asked to perform various tasks.

"When you're driving, certain screens will pop up. They'll ask you to perform certain functions, exercises. It measures your reaction time and if it feels you're getting too fatigued it'll tell you to take a break," said Newcomb. 

The Anti-Sleep Pilot comes as a device, too. It sits on the dashboard and costs about $200. The No-Nap device sits on your ear and sounds a buzzer if you nod off. It's about $20.

If money is no object, there are new vehicles that come equipped with some pretty cutting edge technology to keep you safe.

"A Volvo for example has their driver alert technology and Mercedes-Benz has the attention assist," said Newcomb.

The Volvo technology monitors lane markers and looks for micro-corrections that inattentive drivers are known to make.

"A lot of other cars have something similar called lane departure warning that basically does the same thing…uses a camera to look at the lanes," said Newcomb.

The attention assist in Mercedes-Benz utilizes a steering sensor that works with smart software.

"It analyzes certain driver input, for example, if you're driving over a long distance for a while and the car recognizes that your steering is erratic, or your braking is erratic, or your acceleration is erratic…then it'll give you a warning," said Newcomb.

Of course, it's still on you to get the right amount of sleep, but…

"Having a little help out there is, I don't think a bad thing," said Emsellem.

Christina agrees.

"It just takes a split second to fall asleep and swerve and then you know, you just don't know what's going to happen," she said.

No matter which app or device you use, remember to keep your eyes on the road. If you are asked to perform a task, pull over to do it.

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