The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
While driver fatigue is difficult to accurately track, officials conservatively estimate that about 100,000 crashes are caused by drowsy drivers every year.
The StatsThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that approximately 72,000 crashes are caused by drowsy drivers each year, resulting in about 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2013 alone. However, these numbers are just an estimate, and the NHTSA believes that the true number could be far larger - up to about 6,000 fatal crashes per year.
The Warning SignsIt could be hard to tell whether or not you're becoming drowsy behind the wheel, especially if you've been driving for an extended period of time. While there are many signs to look out for, understanding some of the more common warning signs is a good place to start:
- Frequent blinking or yawning
- Trouble remembering the most recent miles you drove
- Missing an exit
- Drifting between lanes
- Crossing over onto the rumble strip outside the lane
How to Prevent Drowsy DrivingThe best way to keep yourself, your passengers and everyone else on the road safe is to take care of your body before a problem comes up.
- Make sure you get enough sleep - teenagers need about eight hours per night, while most adults need about seven.
- Develop a solid sleep schedule. If you can get your body into a consistent rhythm, it will help you get a more restful nights' sleep.
- If you have any serious issues sleeping, a sleep disorder, or have symptoms that indicate you may have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor about potential treatment options.
- Don't take medication that could make you drowsy or drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Even if you blow under the legal limit, consuming alcohol could still make you drowsy and lead to a serious crash.