Drowsy Driving is DangerousThe topic of drowsy driving has been visited by researchers many times before now, however new data has shown that the issue of drowsy driving is more serious than previously thought. Every driver has probably been through an episode of tiredness when behind the wheel. As many have been able to arrive at their final destination while driving drowsy, many others have not arrived safely or have even been killed due to drowsy driving. The likelihood of causing an accident is definitely more severe when a driver is tired, drowsy, or otherwise sleepy. Researchers have compared the effects of driving drowsy to that of driving distracted, or even driving under the influence of alcohol. Reaction times are reduced when a driver is tired, and even worse than that, driving with your eyes closed and unconscious literally turns a moving vehicle into a lethal weapon for the driver, passengers, or others on the roadway. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has worked diligently to determine accident statistics relating to driving drowsy. While it can be difficult to determine if an accident was caused by drowsy driving, estimates have been made in attempt to raise public awareness of such a dangerous behavior when behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there were approximately 846 traffic-related deaths due to drowsy driving in 2014, and over the past decade, approximately 83,000 crashes per year can be blamed on drowsy driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some pointers for drivers to follow to avoid driving drowsy and potentially causing an accident:
- Ensure that one is getting about 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night to avoid becoming drowsy, especially if driving after dark or early in the morning.
- Avoid drinking any alcohol before driving. Driving under the influence while tired increases the risk of an accident dramatically.
- If any medication is taken that can cause drowsiness, avoid driving altogether. It is especially important to be aware of the effects that new medications can have on alertness and consciousness.
- Remain vigilant for signs of tiredness and sleepiness, such as heavy eyelids, passing over the centerline, and shortness of breath. Any signs of sleepiness should signal the driver to stop driving immediately.