The Peril of Falling Asleep at the Wheel.

Pete is a truck driver I would like every driver to meet. Perhaps I should call him a former truck driver because he is officially confined to a wheelchair and will never walk again. I feel lucky to be alive. I was there with my friend when it all happened. I wish I had detected Pete falling asleep at the wheel on that fateful day when I rode with him for the umpteenth time. I will tell you the story because I know it will help you to lead a happier and more fulfilling life than Pete.

Pete worked for a supermarket chain as a truck driver, delivering supplies to a store in Belford. I was his co-driver. The 581 km between Newcastle and Belford had become our normal route. Pete joked that he could drive on the New England Highway while blindfolded after four years of driving on this road. Well, until that fateful early morning when the gods of the highway turned their faces against us. Looking back, I think we should have refused the lucrative offer from our boss. Perhaps this would have prevented my colleague from falling asleep at the wheel.

We had just returned from a round trip from Belford. Normally, Pete would drive one way and I would do the return journey. We would then rest for another two days before embarking on our routine. We had arrived at the warehouse at midnight and made the short trip to our homes. However, at around four o’clock in the morning, I received a call from my manager saying there was an urgent delivery for Belford. I tried to protest that we had barely slept an hour since returning, but he promised to treat this as an extra duty and pay extra well. As expected, Pete had also received a similar call. Not to lose an extra coin, we decided to make the trip back to Belford, insomnia and lethargy notwithstanding.

There was a little problem, though. I injured my hand in the haste to get into my car. This meant Pete had to drive instead of me, even though he had been behind the wheel only about two hours before. Once we hit the New England Highway, we listened to our favorite music engaged in our usual banter. Pete was his usual self: confident, self-assured, loud and funny. I must have fallen asleep because when I came to myself, the truck was dancing from one side of the road to the other. Pete was falling asleep at the wheel. The last thing I remember seeing from the approaching dawn light was the lorry veering off the road and going down a steep ravine.

How I escaped with few bruises is a story that I can never tell. But Pete’s story is different. You can learn from us and make a difference in your life. Fatigue is a leading cause of road accidents in the country. Instead of falling asleep at the wheel, invest in a quality anti-sleep alarm today.