Drowsy Driving Is a Serious Problem
Officials are still working on ways to more accurately track the number of accidents caused by drowsy drivers, but there is no dispute that it is a major problem on our streets and highways.
How Big Of An Issue Is Drowsy Driving?Exact statistics on the number of crashes caused by drowsy drivers are nearly impossible to put together due to the fact that every state reports these events differently, and some states (Wisconsin and Missouri) don't track these crashes at all. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a conservative estimate of the numbers, stating that about 72,000 accidents are caused by drowsy drivers every year, resulting in approximately 800 deaths and 44,000 injuries. However, some officials believe that there could be as many as 6,000 deaths caused by drowsy drivers every year.
Pay Attention to the Warning SignsIt's difficult to recognize when you're driving drowsy, especially during an extended trip. Some of the most common warning signs to look out for include, but are not limited to:
- Drifting over the rumble strip on the road's shoulder
- Drifting across lanes
- Missing an exit
- Difficulty remembering the past few miles you drove
- Frequent yawning or blinking
Steps You Can Take To Prevent Drowsy DrivingWhile you can't control the reckless actions of other people on the road, you can control your own actions to help mitigate potential catastrophes. The most effective way to do this is by keeping yourself healthy and well-rested.
- Taking medication that causes drowsiness or consuming alcohol before getting behind the wheel is a dangerous. Even if your Blood Alcohol Content [BAC] is below the legal limit of .08 and you aren't abusing medication, anything that affects your alertness on the road could end in a catastrophic crash.
- It's important to see a doctor if you're suffering from a sleep disorder or have symptoms that may indicate a potential sleep disorder. Constant issues with getting a full night's sleep can seriously impact your ability to drive, in addition to potentially causing serious health issues.
- Sticking to a consistent sleep schedule can help your body get into a rhythm and aid in getting a full, restful night's sleep.
- No matter what, getting enough sleep is the most important thing. Adults need about seven hours of sleep per night, while teenagers need about eight.