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2014-08-21 07:45

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.

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Read more on:    germany  |  sleep  |  crashes  |  automotive

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