The National Sleep Foundation is getting the word out about the Dangers of Drowsy Driving. After the daylight saving time change, motorists are at a particularly high risk of being drowsy behind the wheel. The loss of that hour can directly impact drivers the morning after the change. Likewise, the adjustment can take days, weeks, or longer to get accustomed to. During this time, it’s essential to make sure you’re well-rested and ready to get behind the wheel in the morning.
Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Sleep deprivation can have a similar impact on your body, brain, and driving skills as alcohol consumption. Sleep deprivation impacts your ability to pay attention, focus on the road, and can also slow down your reaction times, cognitive functions, and put you at risk for falling asleep behind the wheel.
Drowsy Driving by the Numbers
- Every year, there are 100,000 police-reported crashes due to driver fatigue.
- An estimated 1,550 deaths are the direct result of driver fatigue each year.
- 71,000 injuries are associated with drowsy driving annually.
- These preventable crashes result in $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
Drowsy Driving: a Silent Epidemic
It’s important to note that since there is no “Breathalyzer” test for drowsy driving, much of the data associated with driver fatigue is considered to be very conservative. In a National Sleep Foundation poll, 60 % of adult drivers (about 168 million people) said they have driven a vehicle while drowsy. Over a third of those people (103 million) admitted to falling asleep at the wheel in the past year.
Stay Alert, Arrive Alive
The National Sleep Foundation has a variety of tips to help drivers Stay Alert and Arrive Alive. Although it may not always be possible, a full night’s sleep is an essential starting point. If you do find that you’re drowsy behind the wheel, pull over when it is safe to do so. Switch places with a friend. Get a cup of coffee to help keep you alert, and when necessary, find somewhere to take a nap.
We all have busy schedules, and time change can wreak havoc on our sleep cycles. But, it’s absolutely essential to stay alert behind the wheel, so you can arrive alive. If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one in a car accident involving a drowsy driver or somebody who fell asleep behind the wheel, contact Scott Law Firm at (936) 243-4299 for a free case consultation today.