It is well known that driving on freeways while in a state of drowsiness results in fatal accidents. Many accidents attributable to 'drowsiness' occur at midnight and in the early morning when arousal is low. On freeways, driving conditions are good and often there are no signal lights. Therefore, 'free-way monotony' can easily occur. When truck drivers, etc, were questioned about 'drowsiness', approximately 80% of them said they had 'slept' or had often felt 'drowsy', at the wheel. As a preventive measure against 'drowsiness', a 'driving schedule' relating the driver's physiological condition, fatigue, driving time, etc could be employed. However, 'drowsiness' very often overtakes drivers suddenly. The effect of gum chewing on 'drowsiness' among drivers on a freeway at midnight and in the early morning was therefore studied. Electroencephalograms, frequency of blinking, and galvanic skin reflexes were successively recorded by a polygraph carried in the cars. Critical flicker fusion frequency was determined at check points along the way. From these results it was determined that gum chewing is effective in preventing 'drowsiness'. However, it should be remembered that gum chewing is only a palliative against 'drowsiness' and that the only safe method of preventing accidents resulting from drowsiness at the wheel is to stop driving when fatigued. (a) Paper presented at the 7th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association held in Warsaw 27-31 August 1979. (TRRL)

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Taylor & Francis

    4 Park Square, Milton Park
    Abingdon,   United Kingdom  OX14 4RN
  • Authors:
    • Endou, T
    • Ohshima, M
    • Shingo, O
  • Publication Date: 1979-6

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00308793
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 22 1980 12:00AM