While the dangers of drunk or distracted driving are pretty well known, drowsy driving can be just as dangerous – potentially even more so. In some instances, sleep deprivation could be just as dangerous as alcohol consumption on the road. Yet many of us fail to take that into account, still driving even when we are tired.
One device aims to change that. Currently on Kickstarter, Steer is a wearable device that vibrates and shocks your wrist when it senses that you are getting drowsy. While it may sound a little extreme, its creators hope that it can help cut down on drowsy driving-related accidents.
The dangers of drowsy driving
One study done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that acute sleep deprivation could make you up to 11.5 times more likely to get into an accident. Even losing as little as one hour of sleep can increase your crash risk by 1.3 times.
Tired driving is not illegal, however, as it is so difficult to prove. Even with some government measures in place, such as rumble strips or rest stops, more people are risking the lives of those around them by driving drowsy.
A shocking solution
Steer is meant to apply a small shock and vibration to the wearer’s wrist when it detects the wearer may be getting drowsy. By measuring heart rate and skin conductance, it determines the best time to shock you back awake.
The shock however is not harmful, and does not hurt at all on the lower settings. Rather, it is meant to increase your body’s levels of serotonin and other chemicals that make you feel more awake and focused.
Will something like this catch on? If you have a history of sleep deprivation or drowsy driving, a gentle electric shock may seem like a better alternative than getting into a serious accident.