Drowsy Driving, Stay Awake to Arrive Safe

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You have heard about distracted driving, but drowsy driving? Falling asleep at the wheel is a much more common problem than most people realize. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, 60% of adult drivers say they have driven while feeling drowsy in the past year and 37% admit to falling asleep at the wheel. 

It is difficult to fully determine how much damage drowsy driving causes but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. They say this results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. 

Fatigue and sleep deprivation can lead to lapses in focus and judgment. Drowsy drivers are more likely to be stressed and impatient, and they tend to drive faster. Driving, like any other difficult activity, requires focus and concentration. Driving drowsy makes it much more difficult to maintain the necessary level of focus and concentration, making accidents more likely. 

Being aware of the danger of drowsy driving is often enough to help prevent it. If you haven’t gotten enough sleep in the past 24 hours or are just feeling too tired to drive, a short nap or a cup of coffee or other caffeinated beverage may be enough to help. Of course, the best way to avoid the dangers of drowsy driving is to get enough sleep in the first place! Not only will getting a good night’s sleep make it easier to safely operate a vehicle, it is also an important part of overall health and well-being.