SLUMBERING PASSENGERS A DANGER? A German professor warns that drivers with sleeping passengers are at risk of becoming drowsy behind the wheel. Image: Shutterstock.
REGENSBURG, Germany - Car passengers should try their best to stay awake during long car journeys or risk making the driver feel drowsy too, a German professor warns.
When front or back seat passengers start nodding off, it automatically makes the driver feel sleepy as well, warned Juergen Zulley, a sleep researcher and professor for biological psychology at Regensburg University.
Zulley said: "Figures show that the risk of falling asleep at the wheel and being involved in a road crash is much higher with a slumbering passenger than with an alert person who keeps the driver in good spirits."
'LULL A DRIVER TO SLEEP'
Zulley said the relaxed regular breathing and inert posture of a sleeping person can lull a driver into sleep.
Road safety figures show that one in four fatal road crashes on German roads is caused by a driver momentarily nodding off at the wheel and losing control of the vehicle.
Zulley advised passengers and drivers to watch for the tell-tale signs of driver fatigue, such as excessive yawning. Occupants should insist on a long break so that the person in charge of the vehicle can rest before continuing the journey refreshed.