Like drunk driving, aggressive driving and distracted driving, drowsy driving is hazardous. The American public was broadly introduced to the dangers of drowsy driving when the media began to report on how many individuals perish every year as a result of accidents caused by truck driver fatigue. However, truckers are not the only drivers who suffer from perilous fatigue behind the wheel.
Earlier this month, the National Sleep Foundation aimed to draw attention to the hazards of drowsy driving by declaring "Drowsy Driving Prevention Week" during November 12 through 18. By drawing national attention to this critical safety hazard, the Foundation hoped to educate drivers on ways to avoid drowsy driving and educate them on the risk they take when they choose to drive while fatigued.
Given that over 40 percent of American adults report that they either never or rarely achieve a good night's sleep, the problem of drowsy driving could be more widespread than previously believed.
In order to avoid becoming a casualty in a drowsy driving accident, it is especially critical to get good sleep in the nights before a long trip. In addition, it is important to take frequent breaks while driving in order to stretch, rehydrate and evaluate whether you are alert enough to keep driving safely. However, if you find that you are sleepy, you need to stop driving as soon as possible.
How do you know if you are too tired to continue driving safely? If you are drifting from your driving lane, having difficulty focusing on the road, feeling irritable, feeling restless and achy, missing traffic signs, having trouble warding off daydreams or experiencing heavy eyelids, please get off the road.
Source: Huffington Post, "Drowsy Driving Prevention Week: Drowsy Driving By The Numbers," Nov. 16, 2012