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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Passing out while driving

 lao2222 - Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:47 pm


I am a 26 year old male and twice in the past 7 years, I have been driving, feeling generally fine, and have passed out at the wheel. Both times, I crashed my car and was woken up by a bystander who witnessed the accident. In both cases, I woke up and had no idea of what had just happened. I didn't feel tired or dizzy, I just passed out. However, in both instances, I had not gotten any sleep the previous night. Could I just be falling asleep? But I don't feel tired and it doesn't feel like falling asleep. Please let me know.

Thank you for your time,
 John Kenyon, CNA - Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:43 pm

User avatar Hello -

This is a serious business you're talking about. While it doesn't happen often, it really doesn't need to. The most common cause of this sort of phenomenon, and especially given the information you've provided, is falling asleep at the wheel associated with sleep apnea. You don't mention your height or weight, but I only ask because obesity is often (but not always) associated with sleep apnea. People who suffer from this problem are often totally unaware of it.

There is also the distinct possibility that you simply fell asleep because of not enough sleep, of course, but the sudden onset of loss of consciousness is more suggestive of sleep apnea.

Other possible causes that would absolutely have to be ruled out would be some form of seizure activity, and heartbeat irregularity.

Please have this issue looked into ASAP, as you and others are endangered by this and there may be a perfectly simple cause that can be corrected.

Best of luck to you and maybe consider not driving on days following noticeable lack of sleep.

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