Anson ‘Potsie’ Williams on keeping you awake behind the wheel
You probably know Anson Williams as "Potsie" from Happy Days. What you may not know is that the actor-director has been speaking around the country about drowsy driving.
Forty-five years after the premiere of the hit series Happy Days, a potentially deadly accident made Williams aware of what has become one of the deadliest of the four Driving Ds — drowsy. The others being drugged, drunk, and distracted.
"Years ago I had fallen asleep at the wheel of a car and almost killed myself. Thank God it didn't happen," he said.
He has since been speaking about ALERT DROPS, created by Williams and inspired by his "Uncle" the late Dr. Henry Heimlich.
"He [Dr. Henry Heimlich] told me this [falling asleep behind the wheel] wouldn't have happened if I had cut up lemons in the car...he said when you feel exhausted bite into a lemon, the citric acid in sour lemons hits the lingual nerve on top of your tongue, and it's automatically flush reaction from the bodies adrenaline...it wakes your body up, you're alert, nothing in your system and it's instantaneous."
Williams has even shipped some to congress so that they could say awake during the impeachment hearings.
"When I heard that senators were falling asleep, I made sure we sent a good amount of Alert Drops so they could stay awake and have some clarity."
250,000 drivers in the United States fall asleep at the wheel every day, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and in a national poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 54% of adult drivers said they had driven while drowsy during the past year with 28% saying they had actually fallen asleep while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is a factor in more than 100,000 crashes, resulting in 6,550 deaths and 80,000 injuries annually in the USA.
I couldn't let Williams go without asking him what it was like working on a show with such icons as Ron Howard, Henry Winkler and Garry Marshall.
"We're still, well, Gary you know, god bless him my mentor. Ron, Ron is still a very close friend. Huge, major influences."
And as one of TV's famous best friends, who is his favorite television best friend?
"Oh my gosh, that's a very interesting question. Uh, best friend, Jack Klugman."
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