The data out there about drowsy driving-related accidents is shocking. 100,000 crashes each year are caused by fatigued drivers and 55% of drowsy driving crashes are caused by drivers less than 25 years old.
Drowsy driving used to be the #1 non-alcohol related cause for accidents, but now it has been passed by accidents caused by distracted driving (texting, cell phone usage and other distractions.) But, it’s still a national epidemic and that’s why the people at Anderson Behel are offering you these useful suggestions about drowsy driving.
Symptoms of Drowsy Driving:
* Problems remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
* Yawning frequently or rubbing your eyes
* Trouble keeping your head up
* Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
* Feeling restless and bad-tempered
* Difficulty focusing, recurrent blinking, or heavy eyelids
* Daydreaming; wandering/disjointed thoughts
Before you Drive, Check to see if you are:
* Sleep-deprived or fatigued (6 hours of sleep or less triples your risk)
* Suffering from sleep loss (insomnia), poor quality sleep, or a sleep debt
* Drinking even small amounts of alcohol
* Driving alone or on a long, rural, dark or boring road
* Driving long distances without proper rest breaks
* Driving through the night, mid-afternoon or when you would normally be asleep
* Taking sedating medications (antidepressants, cold tablets, antihistamines)
* Working more than 60 hours a week (increases your risk by 40%)
* Working more than one job and your main job involves shift work
Before hitting the road, drivers should:
* Stay clear of alcohol and medications (over-the-counter and prescribed) that may impair performance. Alcohol interacts with fatigue, increasing its effects — just like drinking on an empty stomach.
* Seek advice from your physician or a local sleep disorders center for diagnosis and treatment if they suffer frequent daytime sleepiness, often have difficulty sleeping at night, and/or snore loudly every night.
* Consume the equivalent of two cups of coffee. Caffeine is available in various forms (e.g. soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee, tea, chewing gum, tablets). Remember, caffeine takes about 30 minutes to enter the blood stream and will not greatly affect those who regularly consume it. For best results, try taking caffeine and then a short nap to get the benefits of both.
If you’re aware of the possibility of drowsy driving, the best advice is to pull over to a safe place and sleep it off. In most cases, it will only take 20 minutes to one hour and you’ll be back in the game; refreshed and renewed and ready to return to the road.
* Get a decent night’s sleep. While this varies from individual to individual, sleep experts advocate between 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults and 8 1/2-9 1/2 for teens.
* Plan to drive long trips with a companion. Passengers can help look for early warning signs of fatigue or switch drivers when needed. Passengers should stay awake to talk to the driver.
* Schedule regular stops, every 100 miles or two hours.