What are the dangers of drowsy driving

Drowsy driving is an unnecessary risk you shouldn’t take. Sleep deprivation has become widespread in North America as people try to squeeze more and more activities into each day. One consequence is more vehicle crashes are attributed partly or wholly to sleepiness.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says about 1 million crashes a year are thought to occur because of driver inattention or lapses – and fatigue makes such carelessness more likely.

NHTSA reports that sleep-induced crashes typically involve a driver who is alone and driving late at night or in mid-afternoon on a high-speed road (so the collision is more likely to be dangerous). Most of the time, it’s a single-car crash because the vehicle leaves the roadway.

Leave the driving to those who are wide awake! In other words, many of us may be susceptible to driving while sleepy, but there are some things we can do to avoid doing so. The National Sleep Foundation and other experts suggest:

Preventing Drowsy Driving

  • Getting a good night’s sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours to maintain proper alertness.
  • Avoid driving during your body’s natural “downtime” when you’d usually be sleeping.
  • Plan to drive long trips with a companion so you can alternate drivers on the trip. Passengers can help look for early warning signs of fatigue and can help share the driving. Passengers should stay awake to talk to the driver.
  • Sit up straight while driving; don’t slouch. Don’t stare straight ahead at all times; scan the road and nearby areas.
  • Stop for a rest every 100 miles or two hours.
  • If you need one, take a short nap. Or get some exercise – run in place, jump up and down.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that may make you sleepy; read the label on the container, or ask your physician.
  • Consult a doctor if you have any symptoms of a possible sleep disorder: frequent daytime sleepiness, frequent difficulty sleeping at night, or loud snoring every night.
  • Avoid anything the state considers Distracted Driving.

So, before you hit the road, make sure you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Then you can rest assured you’ll arrive at your destination safely.

Drowsy Driving Resources:

National Sleep Foundation

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