The Hot New Method for Driver Safety

Jul 22, 2009
Dozing off at the wheel is a serious danger.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers who fall asleep at the wheel cause over 100,000 traffic accidents every year. This spring, Chinese police in the Chongqing region came up with a new way to combat the problem and keep drivers from falling asleep at the wheel: by feeding them raw chili peppers.

As the most heavily populated country on Earth, China’s streets are already overcrowded and have a low rate of traffic safety obedience, making them some of the most dangerous streets in the world.  And just like everywhere else, sleepy drivers make a large contribution to the problem.

Police began distributing the peppers to drivers at service stations in China in accordance with a belief that people are drowsier in the spring.  While this may seem a strange alternative to your favorite energy beverage, authorities say that the spicy cure really helps drivers who may be feeling drowsy.  Chinese commercial van driver Chen Jun agrees: “It’s really good to have some hot peppers when you are tired from driving. They make you alert.”

While Americans may prefer a few cups of coffee to a peppery pick-me-up, there is still no substitute for a good night’s sleep before taking to the highway.  But who knows, maybe we’ll see some fancy chipotle energy shots coming to our favorite rest stops in the future.  For information on how to combat drowsy driving with your drivers, check out the National Sleep Foundation’s tips behind the link.

Photo courtesy of ian_ransley under the Creative Commons License