Drowsy Driving, Are You At Risk?
Drowsy Driving-The Facts
We’re all familiar with the problem of drunk driving, but how about Drowsy driving? Drowsy driving is the dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue. Drowsy driving can result from a lack of sleep, untreated sleep disorders, medications, drinking alcohol, or shift work.
In a study published in the January 4, 2013, issue of the MMWR, It was reported that among nearly 150,000 adults aged at least 18 years or older in 19 states and the District of Columbia, 4%reported that they had fallen asleep while driving at least once in the previous 30 days.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. According to NHTSA, these numbers are underestimated and perhaps as many as 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers.
Who’s At Risk?
- Drivers who do not get enough sleep
- Commercial drivers who operate vehicles such as tow trucks, tractor trailers, and buses
- Shift workers (work the night shift or long shifts)
- Drivers with untreated sleep disorders like sleep apnea
- Drivers who use medications that make them sleepy
Warning Signs Of Drowsy Driving
- Yawning or blinking frequently
- Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven
- Missing your exit
- Drifting from your lane
- Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road
Prevent Drowsy Driving
- The most important step you can take to lower your risk of Drowsy driving it to prevent it.
- Prevention measures include:
- Getting enough sleep. Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a day while teens need at least 8 hours.
- Practice good sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene practices include, sticking to a sleep schedule, not watching television in the bedroom and no screens of any kind (tablets, cell phones, computers) 2 hours before bed.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medications that make you sleepy. Be sure to check the label on any medications or talk to your pharmacist.
If you are interested in learning more about Drowsy driving or sleep hygiene, the links below are excellent sources of information and resources. Working together we can prevent the dangers of Drowsy driving and keep our employees and their families safe behind the wheel and on the road.
National Sleep Foundation
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)