Driving Drowsy Scholarship by MattressInsider.com [2018]

Mattress Insider is running a reoccurring scholarship essay contest for students who admit to falling asleep behind the wheel.  The deadline to submit is Feb 1, 2018.

Here are the details:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that driving drunk is dangerous.  But did you know that driving while tired is just as dangerous as drunk driving?

A 2012 study in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine showed that there was no difference between driving sleepy or driving drunk.  Both doubled the risk of causing a car accident.  A study in the Netherlands demonstrated that driving for 2 hours at night time is equivalent to being buzzed and driving for three hours is the same as driving drunk.

Unfortunately, driving while sleepy doesn’t get as much negative publicity as driving drunk and maybe that’s why it’s so common.  In 2011, CNN reported on a poll put out by the AAA Foundation which showed 1 in 3 people drove while drowsy in the last 30 day period.

Have you driven drowsy?  We’d like to hear about it.

Mattress Insider Scholarship

Who is eligible?

  • Students who admit to driving drowsy.
  • Must have a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • Must be currently attending or planning to attend an accredited college or university during the fall of 2017.
  • For applicants under 18, you must have permission from a parent or legal guardian.
  • You must be in good academic standing with your current educational institution.

What’s the award?

One scholarship award of $1000 will be awarded for use towards tuition or books.

How will the award be paid out?

We will mail a check for $1000 directly to the financial aid department of the University you’re attending and they will apply it to your financial aid account.

How do I apply?

  1. Write a 500-1000 word essay telling us the story of when you chose to drive drowsy.  Why did you choose to get into the car?  What were the consequences of your actions?  Was anybody injured?  What did you learn from your mistake?
  2. Please apply for the scholarship though our Google form found here.

Submission deadline:

Feb 1st, 2018

Award date:

March 1st, 2018

Note: By applying for this scholarship, you understand that we have the right to publish your content, your photo, along with your first and last name on the Insider Living blog found on MattressInsider.com.

Winning Essay from Fall of 2017

Author: Matthew Carpenter
School: University of Michigan

Drowsy Driving Scholarship Winner 2017

My family is the type that refuses to fly anywhere. Growing up in Savannah, Georgia, we would feel the need to go somewhere cooler for at least a portion of the summer or risk frying alive like an egg in the heat (as a fair-skinned redhead this is a persistent problem). Some of the places we’ve driven to in my lifetime are: New York City; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Quebec City; Tucson, Arizona; Yellowstone National Park; Seattle; and Michigan. My father has always been of the belief that you should see what your own country has to offer before you set out exploring others.

Along with this driving-centric mindset, one begins to develop what I like to call “exit-mania.” After you come across a few cool-looking exits, you feel the need to reach your destination as fast as possible. Stopping for gas slows a family down enough, hotels are simply an extreme waste of time and money. As a result of this demented mindset, my family likes to make 2500-mile trips without stopping to sleep, because one “can get plenty of rest once we reach the destination.” Once I became sixteen, I was thrown into the hot ring of fire that is the Carpenter driving seat on the road to a vacation.

Because I’ve driven through the night on several occasions, I feel that I am especially equipped to determine the warning signs of drowsy driving. The biggest warning sign I experience is what I refer to as the “two-second nap.” At some point when one has been driving for an extended period of time, you will begin to wonder what closing your eyes would feel like. In this daze, one will close their eyes once or twice to feel the bliss that comes with resting an eyelid for a short period of time.

Once when I was driving through Missouri on the way to Montana, I began to test the waters of the ecstasy that is the “two-second nap.” My car was the only one on either side of the interstate, if anything happened to me a cognizant driver might not have noticed my car off the road for several hours.

I closed my eyes for a short time, surely just one or two seconds in my mind. I woke up with the car stopped in the ditch separating the opposing sides of the highway with no members of my family even awake, let alone injured. I slowly drove back onto the freeway and pulled off the first exit that I came across. I told my father I was tired, and we switched drivers probably an hour too late. I refrained from telling my family members about this incident for a few weeks because I was just too embarrassed that I’d nearly ended the lives of several people. But still, the only thing damaged in this accident was my pride, and I’ll remember my near-death experience every day I’m still breathing.

After this incident, I’ve put together a series of tips that keep this incident singular in its nature. The best piece of advice to prevent drowsy driving is to never let the driver be the only person awake in the vehicle. Whoever is in the passenger seat must be alert to keep the driver awake and provide moral support. DON’T LISTEN TO SLOW OR DEPRESSING music because that only exacerbates drowsiness. I’ve found that stand-up comedy is the best listening option for late-night drives because constant laughter keeps one alert and on point. Classical music is essentially taking a handful of sedatives, so I don’t recommend a playlist of Bach on your journey.

Now my family tries to make the journey just as exciting as the destination. Stopping at state and national parks on the way is a great way to break up the trip. Hotels off the highway are just boring and redundant. A cabin near Saguaro National Park might lend itself to stories that can last a lifetime. Too often we catch ourselves up in a singular target and never stop to admire the path we’re taking to get there. To make me admire the life I have and the odyssey that it is, I just needed a short nap.

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This article was written by

Founder & CEO of MattressInsider.com which specializes in hard to find mattresses for RVs, Boats, Trucks, Sofa Beds, and Aircraft.

There are 4 comments for this article
  1. Robert Brett Heckman at 9:03 pm

    I recently applied for the Driving Drowsy Scholarship and it said to email a photo of myself. Well, I emailed the photo, but then I received an error notice saying that it wasn’t a valid email address that I had sent it to. However, I emailed the photo to “scholarships@mattressinsider.com”, which was listed on the application. I just want to make sure that my application will still be considered. Thank you!

    • admin at 9:36 pm

      We were having some issues with the email, but they’ve been corrected. Sorry for the inconvenience. Can you please try to re-email the photo?

      Thank you!

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