Ask A Cop: What If I'm Sleepy Behind the Wheel?

Have a question for the Sheriff's Office? Let us know.

Is there anything you have ever wanted to know from the police department? Well, this is your chance to ask. 

Patch has always strived to bring its readers all types of information and keep them updated on what is happening in their communities. It is with that in mind that we bring you our newest column, “Ask A Cop.” We will be teaming up with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies from around the county to answer your questions.

Whether you have a question about certain laws and how they might affect you, your family or friends or how to stay safe in certain situations, we want you to ask them. Every week we will run one question and answer. To submit a question, email Shannon.burkey@patch.com.


I'm an over 60 person and dealing with chronic illness. Occasionally when I'm driving I will start to feel sleepy. Is it better for me to keep going, or to pull over somewhere to rest? If pull over is the answer, then where is the most appropriate place to do so? Should I call 911 to inform them of the situation?


One should be concerned anytime a potential medical condition or illness affects a person’s ability to operate a vehicle in a safe manner.

Barring any medical conditions, persons driving motor vehicles can become tired and not as alert as they should be. I would recommend finding a safe place to pull over. Well-lighted and populated areas such as shopping centers, gas stations, trucks stops or rest areas provide a safe environment for persons to nap. If you are on a busy highway and unable to find one of these locations, find the largest clearing that provides distance between yourself and the roadway. Be cautious about activating your hazard lights as they may deplete your battery.

If you believe you are a hazard to other motorists, drive to the closest available parking area. Lock your vehicle and leave a window partially down to ensure you do not overheat. If you are able to do so, call a friend or relative and let them know of your stop so they do not become concerned when you are overdue.

If you are experiencing a medical problem that requires aid, call 911. If an illness may potentially affect your ability to safely drive, get a ride from a friend or call a taxi.

—Sgt. Steve Carney

kate keesler July 11, 2012 at 04:16 AM
wow patch this ask a cop should bring children & their parents closer to the men & women who protect us tax payers HOMELESS.. nice to have a friend in YOUR nieghborhood. asking a COP what the LAWS or for their views recommondations p might save US some money as well as might save a life that;s TEAM work
kate keesler July 11, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Thank you to the fine sheriff's police firemen serving watsonville area. Great job i have not heard a single GUN shot seen no gang crime see cops wave & nod to familiar faces. this is what people in uniform ready to serve clearly aspire. i have been living in watsonville for 3 months (Hello Mick Jagger @ the airport) PEACE
Jennifer Squires July 11, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Kate, let us know if you have any questions we can ask for you!
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