The Dangers Of Drowsy Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year there are an estimated 100,000 police-reported crashes that involve drowsy driving. Furthermore, these crashes result in more than 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. The following article will discuss some of the causes of drowsy driving, as well as some prevention methods.
Common Causes of Drowsy Driving
According to the Sleep Foundation, there are various factors that may contribute to drowsy or fatigued driving, some of which include the following:
- Sleep Disorders: There are some people who suffer from either diagnosed or undiagnosed sleep disorders which may cause them to become drowsy during the day because their ability to sleep at night has been restricted or disrupted
- Sleep Deprivation: If a person does not get enough sleep on a consistent basis, they are considered sleep-deprived
- Medications: There are certain medications which indicate that they cause drowsiness
- Alcohol Consumption: The consumption of alcohol can greatly contribute to feelings of drowsiness and as such, drivers should refrain from drinking before driving
- Time of Day: There are certain times of the day (specifically the hours of midnight to 6:00AM and the mid-afternoon period) in which people may experience intense feelings of drowsiness
Ways to Prevent Drowsy Driving
You can prevent some drowsy driving accidents if you take the appropriate steps prior to starting your journey. Some ways to prevent drowsy driving include the following:
- Make Sure You Get Enough Sleep: Unfortunately, many people are simply not getting enough sleep. If you are sleep-deprived, you are more likely to drive drowsy and risk getting into an accident. Adults should attempt to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Don’t Drink and Drive: Alcohol consumption while driving is extremely dangerous not only because it can cause drowsiness but also because it drastically reduces the driver’s reaction time.
- Follow Your Medication Instructions: Some medications that contain drowsy-inducing ingredients will provide warnings that the medications should not be taken if you plan to operate a vehicle. Make sure you adhere to any posted instructions so that you don’t end up driving while drowsy.
- If You Feel Drowsy, Pull Over: If you are already on the road and are feeling drowsy, you should attempt to safely pull over and take a break until such a time as you feel that you are no longer drowsy and can safely operate your vehicle.
Furthermore, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends pulling over to the side of the road if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Constant yawning or an inability to keep your eyes open
- Nodding off or having trouble keeping your head up
- An inability to remember driving the last few miles
- Missing road signs or driving past your turn
- Drifting into other lanes
- Drifting onto the “rumble strip” or onto the shoulder of the road
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