drowsy driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 accidents each year, attributing to 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries annually. Furthermore, a study by AAA revealed that one in six deadly accidents is caused by drowsy driving. The study also showed that over half of the drivers who admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel did it on a divided highway at a high speed. One third of Americans admitted to falling asleep while driving in the past year.

In order to prevent accidents caused by drowsy driving, it is important to recognize the signs:

  • Excessive yawning
  • Inadvertently drifting from the lane
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Feeling aggressive or irritable

Drowsiness impairs drivers from being able to react quickly and studies show that being awake for more than 20 hours can equal the blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or the rate of legal impairment. Here are some tips to help stay alert while behind the wheel:

  1. Consume caffeine
  2. Avoid driving when you would usually be in a deep sleep
  3. Avoid medications and alcohol that can cause drowsiness
  4. Get a good night’s sleep before driving long distances
  5. Drive with a passenger to help keep you alert or take turns behind the wheel
  6. Pull over in a safe place to take a short nap to stay alert