Drowsy Driving is Dangerous!

By November 4, 2019November 18th, 2020No Comments

Rousing information to keep you awake and alert while driving

The National Sleep Foundation has declared November 3-10 as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. The topic of drowsy or sleepy driving is an often-overlooked area that needs recognition.

  • 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 United States.
  • Sleep deprivation impairs coordination and judgment; causes longer reaction times, and impairs memory and ability to retain information, all skills that are needed to successfully operate a motor vehicle.

The National Sleep Foundation has discovered:

  • Driving drowsy poses the same risks as driving while intoxicated. Being awake for 18 hours straight makes you drive like you have a blood-alcohol level of .05 (.08 is considered legally drunk). If you’ve been awake for 24 hours and drive, it’s similar to a blood-alcohol level of .10.
  • The average adult’s alertness dips and rises at different times of the day. People are most sleepy between 2 and 4 a.m., and 1 and 3 p.m.
  • Millions of Americans also experience excessive sleepiness as a result of sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea and narcolepsy.
  • In the United States, 250,000 drivers fall asleep at the wheel every day, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, in a study with 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.

What are some warning signs that you’re too sleepy to drive?

  • Repeatedly yawning, rubbing the eyes and frequent blinking
  • Trouble focusing
  • Trouble keeping the head up
  • Drifting from lane to lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder or rumble strip
  • Daydreaming or wandering thoughts
  • Difficulty remembering the last few miles driven or missing exits and street signs

What can you do to drive safely?

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine:

  • Be aware of your behavior and the behavior of others on the road during the late-night, early morning and mid-afternoon hours when crashes caused by drowsy driving are most likely to occur. Plan a rest stop during these hours.
  • Get a full night of rest before driving. If you become tired while driving, stop. A short nap (15 to 45 minutes) and consuming caffeine can help temporarily.
  • Stop at regular intervals when driving long distances. Get out of the car every 2 hours to stretch and walk briskly.
  • Try to set a limit of 300-400 miles of driving per day.
  • Avoid taking medications that cause drowsiness.
  • If you’re tired and in danger of falling asleep, you cannot predict when a “mini” sleep may occur.

 


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