October 27, 2020 5 min read
The problem of drowsy driving among Uber and Lyft drivers had become so dangerous that those two companies started limiting drivers' shifts.
At Uber, drivers need to take six hours of rest in between every 12 hours of work. At Lyft, it's six hours between every 14 hours of work .
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine said in a statement :
However, the AASM considers these limits to be insufficient since many ridesharing drivers work multiple jobs or drive for more than one ridesharing company, and they often drive late at night and early in the morning when sleepiness may peak.
The question is of great concern because in the United States, drowsy driving kills an estimated ~800 people a year in 90,000-some accidents, says the National Sleep Foundation in its article How To Stay Awake On The Road .
The AAA says the numbers are even more alarming than what the NSF announced:
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that an average of 328,000 annual crashes in the U.S. involve a drowsy driver, including 109,000 that result in injuries and 6,400 that involve a fatality. The National Transportation Safety Board also included “reduce fatigue-related accidents” on its 2017-2018 Most Wanted List of the 10 most critical changes needed to reduce transportation accidents and save lives. 
The problem is so bad that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a statement on it:
“We are dealing with a public safety issue, where low fares and salary incentives compel drivers to continue driving past their safety limits. They may be unaware of the huge risks they are taking or have the false belief that sleep is overrated. Their customers, meanwhile, usually aren’t asking themselves, ‘How alert is my driver right now?’ They aren’t even thinking about drowsy driving. This is a formula for disaster,” said senior author Dr. Indira Gurubhagavatula, an associate professor of medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “We need to raise awareness and gather information. Without accurate estimates of how common this is, or regulation, it’s the wild west of transportation out there.”
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine gives some signs to be aware of when you are driving drowsy :
Pull over or have another passenger take the wheel if you experience any of the following warning signs of drowsy driving:
The only problem is, an Uber of Lyft driver can't very well let someone else drive for them, and their passengers would likely not appreciate it if they pulled over and slept.
So, what should they do?
If an Uber, Lyft, or taxi driver starts to nod off at the wheel, you can get a temporary boost from caffeine that may help you to get your pax (passenger) to their destination.
Because you don't necessarily want to fill up on liquids while driving around for hours at a time, consider taking caffeinated Viter Energy Mints with B vitamins . They have 40 mg of caffeine in each mint, so taking two is the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee.
Other tips on staying awake, from the National Sleep Foundation, include:
As we at Viter Energy Mints reported in this blog , many trucking sites say you should chew gum, play loud music, or keep the interior so cool that you're uncomfortable. The SleepFoundation.org says these are myths: These practices do not lessen drowsiness .
In a discussion thread at UberPeople.net , several of the drivers say they stay awake by eating sunflower seeds.
Another woman says:
Tired? STOP. Take a nap. 15 minutes will do wonders. I carry one of those horseshoe shaped pillows. Tip the seat back, set the timer, lock the car and it's off to dream land. Wake up, walk around the car while opening doors and checking things out. Now you're ready to drive.
Another poster concurred:
Nothing works better than a power nap. Took 2 this morning when I was charging up my car.
Outside of 14 hour work days, which is pretty unsafe so please stop doing that as you are operating a motor vehicle and can injure/kill yourself and/or others, sticking to an actual wake/sleep cycle will do wonders to speed up the process of not getting drowsy. I used to do alternating shifts; earlier on weekdays and later on weekends; but found myself burning out consistently over a 4 month time span. 
If you are a taxi, Uber, or Lyft driver and find yourself feeling drowsy, you are far better off getting off the road. The long-term costs of a crash can far outweigh the short-term costs of losing income from getting off the road early.
Stay safe on the road by not driving when you're too tired. For more safety tips for Uber and Lyft drivers, check out the video below.
February 25, 2021 5 min read
How bad is caffeine withdrawal? People who have a caffeine habit may empathize with a scene of the 1931 production of Frankenstein, in which the mad scientist exults over the animation of his monster, exclaiming “It’s alive! It’s a alive, it’s alive!” I know I get animated in the morning after drinking my first cup of the ichor we call coffee.
Caffeinated products are wildly popular worldwide, used by as much as 90 percent of the adult population. An estimated 80 percent of American adults take caffeine in one product or another, and it’s estimated half of those people are prone to headaches for one reason or another. If you are among the caffeine users who get caffeine withdrawal headaches from coffee, tea or energy drinks, there are a few things you can do to minimize the pain.
February 23, 2021 5 min read
Studies of caffeine show that it does not increase the risk of death, but it causes a habit or possibly a dependence that the American Psychiatric Association now lists in its diagnosis manual as a disorder that warrants more study.
Scientists study caffeine and its use by humans a lot, some say more than any other psychoactive substance in the world. Caffeine is the most widely used drug, and more scientists are saying now there should be yet more studies into dependence and other aspects of caffeine consumption.
February 18, 2021 4 min read
What is the chemistry of coffee? Caffeine is the most famous chemical compound in coffee, but roasted coffee beans contain more than 1,000 other compounds. Some of these chemicals are noxious but still are not unhealthy because they are present in such low amounts.
You never hear anybody wake up and say, “I need a big dose of putrescine and dimethyl disulfide in my morning cup.”