During cross-country road-trips in the United States, statistically speaking:

  • Are you more likely to expire whilst sleeping in a car at a rest-stop, or a chain installation/removal area, or other some such around the highway (violent car-jacking?), or,

  • Are you more likely to get into an accident due to drowsy driving?

Let's assume that in the former case, you drive drowsy for a total time of 1-hour per day and sleep for 6 hours per day (e.g. not needing any hotels after all); and in the latter case, you speed and drive drowsy for 6 hours per day (to get in time to the hotel, well past the midnight, to get proper sleep) and sleep on the highway for 1 hour, and all drowsy driving happens at nighttime. Assume somewhat of an average car, 2–6 year-old, with an MSRP of 16–24k USD when it was new.

In your answer, please re-state any assumptions from the question, and state any other assumptions made (such that it'll be possible to amend the question without invalidating the answers).

  • 4
    I am not sure this is travel related. This is more like statistical analysis that require hard data support and more like a research project. You can start here: drowsydriving.org/about/facts-and-stats – Karlson Jun 25 '13 at 18:25
  • 2
    @Karlson, my parents think that it's unsafe to sleep in the car (quoting Michael Jordan's father's death at a rest-stop in North Carolina in 1993), and I strongly disagree; because, from my past experiences, i simply know and accept that i can never make it to the hotel at the next hop of the trip prior to about 4am, so, I personally think that drowsy driving is more dangerous, but was looking for some more proofs and case-studies. – cnst Jun 25 '13 at 18:34
  • 1
    What exactly is the objection to stopping early at a motel and sleeping there? – DJClayworth Jun 25 '13 at 19:03
  • 4
    I also think the question as it currently stands cannot be reasonably answered -- it's comparing apples to oranges. Additionally, while highway robbery can probably be quantified statistically, how can "drowsiness" be defined? Either is a risk, either has significant cost (highway accident would almost always be fatal, while robbery could potentially be survived). It's up to you to measure inconvenience and benefit of each. I'd personally would just sleep in a motel as previously suggested. – mindcorrosive Jun 25 '13 at 19:13
  • 1
    This is going to vary with each country (rest stops are safer in NZ, generally, than South Africa, for example) and in different seasons (might freeze to death if you sleep in the car in Siberia in February). Too opinion-based, voted to close. – Mark Mayo Jun 25 '13 at 21:58

Drowsy driving is much more dangerous...

Why? Because if you're asleep in your car, you have a near-zero chance of killing me as well.

(Or any other drivers)


Are you more likely to expire whilst sleeping in a car at a rest-stop, or a chain installation/removal area, or other some such around the highway (violent car-jacking?), or,

Not if you have enough oxygen in the car.
Assuming the area where you will park you car and sleep is safe, follow one of below options:

If the engine is not running: Open the windows a little bit in both sides of the car to allow the air to ventilate. I have done this few times and here I am.
If the engine is running: Switch the A/C on and turn the A/C recirculation OFF. When the A/C recirculation is turned on the air inside the car will be recirculated and no new fresh air will enter the car and the CO2 levels will rise leading to death, so you have to make sure it is OFF otherwise you will die. Anyway, keeping at least one window opened a little will be a good idea in case the engine was shut for any reason. The recirculation button looks like this:

A/C recirculation

Are you more likely to get into an accident due to drowsy driving?

YES, there is a good chance that you will have an accident and die if you drive while drowsy. It takes one second to hit another car or get off the road and hit a tree or something else. Remember, drowsy driving is not different than suicide bombing! you can kill yourself and other innocent people.

According to the DrowsyDriving.org 4% of the drivers who drove cars while drowsy had accidents.

  • 2
    This is country dependent. If it's in Siberia in February, you'd want to keep driving - opening the window and trying to sleep might just result in hypothermia! – Mark Mayo Jun 25 '13 at 22:00
  • Not really an answer to my question; you're saying how not to expire specifically due to one's own fault, not about the probability of a violent crime at a highway far from urban areas. – cnst Jun 25 '13 at 23:02
  • @MarkMayo there is a usa tag.. – Nean Der Thal Jun 25 '13 at 23:34
  • 2
    @HaLaBi yeah, noted above as a comment on the question. I still maintain then that this is state dependent - driving in Alaska, for example. – Mark Mayo Jun 25 '13 at 23:49
  • 2
    @MarkMayo, if you are travelling trans Siberia or trans Alaska, you will need to stop and sleep occasionally. You should be prepared for the cold. Drowsy driving is simply not acceptable. – emory Jun 26 '13 at 21:49

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.