A lot of money is spent each year on drinking and driving campaigns. Those campaigns are designed to teach people the dangers of drinking and driving. While most people understand that drinking and driving is dangerous, few people realize just how dangerous drowsy driving is.
According to a recent study done by the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety, they found:
1 out of 6 fatal accidents involves a drowsy driver.
10% of drivers admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel this year.
41% of drivers said they fell asleep while driving at some point in their lives.
When you’re behind the wheel, being sleepy can be extremely dangerous, if not deadly. Being sleepy while driving slows down your reaction time, impairs your judgment, decreases your awareness and greatly increases your chances of a crash.
The obvious answer to drowsy driving would be to get enough sleep before driving. That’s not always possible, however, you should be able to recognize fatigue symptoms in yourself or if you’re riding with someone that might be drowsy.
If you’re driving or the person you’re riding with is unfocused, such as unable to stay focused on the road or a conversation going on, missing signs or exits or tailgating that’s a sign of fatigue. Constant yawning can be another sign of fatigue. If you or the person you’re riding with experiences these symptoms, it’s time to switch drivers (if possible) or stop and walk around for 20 to 30 minutes. If possible, find something to eat for quick energy.
It is suggested when driving, you should make a stop each hour or every 100 miles. The stop doesn’t have to be long, simply walk around the vehicle a few minutes or grab a refreshment.
There are things that don’t work despite what you might think or have been told. Opening a window, cooling the car down with air conditioning or turning the music up very loud. While these things my make you alert for a couple minutes, in the long term they are not effective.
If you’re tired and no one else can drive, rent a hotel room and sleep for a while. It’s better to be late and arrive alive then the alternative.
Be alert and arrive alive.