Now, more than ever, driving can be a more dangerous task than it should be. Everyone’s always mobile, on the road, and the one thing no one ever seems to get enough of is sleep. You should keep in mind, though, that 20% of all traffic accidents are related to driver fatigue. Also, here’s a (not-so-fun) fact: you can actually be ticketed in many states for drowsy driving, even if it is uncommon. So, ASP has created the Anti Sleep Pilot App for the iPhone and iPad, to protect drivers from the dangers of drowsy driving. It’s a solid app, but falls a bit short in some key, concerning areas.
The most positive part of this app starts right at the beginning. The user creates a customized fatigue profile, specifically for that trip. This is based on situational factors, as well as a baseline profile including information like gender, age, and number of hours worked per week. All together, 26 factors go into determining fatigue at any given point, which is pretty impressive. The factors seem scientifically sound, as well. Ultimately, the app will sound an alarm when it determines that the fatigue has become too much, and the driver needs to pull over and take a break.
The only slight problem I have with this app are the light and sound tests administered while driving. While the benefit of recording driver reaction time in calculating fatigue can be useful, it’s also bound to be, in some part, distracting. If the driver really is fatigued, an extra distraction might not be the best idea, even if the app does claim that the tests help drivers stay alert and break up the monotony of driving. As a matter of fact, this last bit is scientifically dubious; if you’re tired, you’re tired. Monotony might make it more obvious that you are fatigued, but breaking it up does not actually improve driver alertness. (Important side note: this also means that the popular practices of cranking up music and lowering windows don’t help you wake up, either). Ultimately, there are two ways to fight fatigue while driving: caffeine and rest, and the former isn’t bulletproof.
This app does sport some other cool features that make it worthwhile. It’s integrated with Google Maps, showing you how far you have to go until your next projected break, which is pretty useful for finding side streets, exits or turnouts in advance.
Ultimately, Anti Sleep Pilot well straight up tell you when you need to stop driving and rest, and this is a service that should be useful to millions. The app is available on iTunes for $19.99, and will be coming to other phone platforms soon. Just don’t rely on it as gospel; if you feel tired, just pull over and take a nap. Pressing on isn’t worth the risk.