Photo Essay: Asleep at the Wheel

First posted May 25, 2014

Last Wednesday and Thursday, I facilitated an Operational Leadership class. It's a class that deals with leadership, assertiveness, life skills that make you safer, ways to communicate that encourage a safe work environment, etc.

On my way home from the class, driving back to Seattle, I watched a car shoot off the road and go airborne. It was pretty surreal.

I turned around and went to help, figuring that even though I'm no longer an EMT there are Good Samaritan laws on the books that will cover me if I needed to control bleeding or something while we waited for emergency responders to show up. Fortunately, what I found was the driver standing on the side of the road, looking down at his Prius in the weeds, slightly dazed. He was seemingly fine.

A Toyota Prius waaaaay off-road.

I asked him what had happened. He told me he'd fallen asleep while driving through a curve. At 55mph.

I am very glad that physics threw him to the outside of the road, into verge (and no trees!), and not across the center line. I would have been in the mix had that happened.

Reminder! Drowsy driving is impaired driving.

If you've had a long day, call a friend or take a nap before you get on the road. This guy (and I) got very lucky. That's the only thing that kept people from getting terribly injured or killed: luck.

... and yes, the class I'd facilitated covered fatigue and its impacts on decision making and response time. I asked the guy if I could take a photo of his car for my next class. He was all too happy to let me take the photo.