Have you ever slipped behind the wheel, cranked up some tunes, and taken off on a long road trip without sufficient sleep? If so, you know how easy it is to drive too far or for too long without a break absentmindedly and suddenly find yourself wondering where the last few miles or minutes went.
We’re all guilty of driving drowsy at one time or another. But did you know that drowsiness and fatigue cause more than 100,000 automobile crash every year, kill at least 1,500 and injure a whopping 71,000 people?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving drowsy has many of the same effects as driving while drunk or drugged: slowed reaction times, impaired judgment, decreased awareness—and increased loss of life.
The Sobering Facts
According to one study by the AAA Foundation, some drowsy drivers close their eyes for longer than a blink, despite trying to stay awake. Others bob their heads and then bolt upright when they feel themselves drifting off, while others stare fixedly ahead without responding or reacting to oncoming traffic.
Well, guess what, drowsy drivers? We can’t continue burning the candle on both ends; driving without enough sleep; putting ourselves, our passengers, and everyone on the road at risk; and paying the price in lives lost, injuries suffered, and insurance rates escalated. You can also get very cheap car insurance with no down payment; it’s time to wake up!
Consider These Sobering Facts, Courtesy Of Edmunds.com:
- Drowsy drivers cause 20 percent of all automobile accidents.
- The majority of crashes due to sleepy driving occur during the day—not at night.
- Less than one percent of all sleep-related crashes involve truck drivers.
- Working the night shift increases the odds of a drowsy driving accident almost six times.
- As commute times lengthen, the number of drowsy driving incidents increases.
- People of all age groups and experience levels drive drowsy, but 18- to 20-year-olds, as a group, do it most.
The Face Of Drowsy Driving
So how can you know when you’re too tired to drive? Does it take an injury or accident to help you realize you’ve gone too far and need to get some shut-eye?
No, experts say. Most people can recognize when they’re driving drowsy. It just takes paying attention and taking action at the first signs, which include:
- Yawning repeatedly
- Wandering or disconnected thoughts
- Difficulty focusing or keeping the eyes open
- Inability to remember driving
- Tailgating or missing traffic signs
- Wandering within the lane or across the road
- Near misses
Taking Action To Protect Yourself And Others
If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms of drowsy driving, it’s time to stop!
Contrary to your opinion, playing loud music and blowing cold air in your face aren’t suitable coping mechanisms. Instead, find a safe place to pull off the road or drive a short distance to a nearby gas station or convenience store.
Take a short nap in your car if you need to; then get out, do some stretches or take a walk. Consider drinking a caffeinated beverage or eating a high-protein snack to help keep you energized and your brain active.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your body processing liquids during the trip.
Finally, if you’re not riding alone, ask a passenger to ride along up front during the remainder of the trip to keep you company and engage in conversation. Whatever you do, don’t return to driving until you’re alert and awake.
It’s Time To Wake Up!
You can opt for car insurance for less than $100 a month, but you need to wake up a drowsy driver! Avoid becoming a statistic—and help keep car insurance rates low.
You can keep everyone on the road safe with plenty of rest before that big trip and a few preventative measures.