Drowsy driving is a serious problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there are 100,000 sleep-related crashes in the United States every year, causing 1550 deaths and 71,000 injuries.
Last week was Drowsy Driving Awareness Week, a public awareness campaign promoted by the National Sleep Foundation. Everyone on the road should be aware of the dangers of driving while drowsy:
– Being awake for more than 20 hours results in impairment equal to a blood alcohol content of 0.08, the legal limit for drunk driving in Ohio!
– The financial costs for drowsy driving crashes are estimated at $12.5 billion annually.
– Half of American adults have consistently admitted that they have driven drowsy in the previous year.
What can be done to prevent this problem? Know the risk factors and tips for staying awake and staying alive.
Those most at risk for drowsy driving include young drivers (especially males aged 16-25), late and early shift workers, commercial drivers, people with untreated medical conditions and business travelers who suffer jet lag and fatigue.
Prevention tips for drowsy driving are really based on common sense. For example, the best way to prevent drowsy driving is to keep good sleep habits. In addition, the following tips may keep you and the rest of us safe on the roads:
– Don’t drive if you are tired.
– Don’t drive at times when you would normally be sleeping.
– Don’t drink any alcohol if you are even a little bit sleepy
– Get off the road if you notice signs of fatigue
– Pull over (in a safe spot) and take a quick cat nap
– Drink caffeine (but this should not be relied upon for long periods)
– Drive with a friend
As you are traveling over the upcoming holidays, please keep the dangers of drowsy driving in mind and follow these tips for safety for a safe and enjoyable holiday season.