By Waamene Yowika
According to the National Sleep Foundation, about half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy.
Driving Drowsy is a highly dangerous form of driving and can put everyone’s life at risk. We get it…you’ve had a long day of work, you didn’t get enough sleep, you’re coming back from a road trip, or are off to give a friend a ride. Drowsy driving can have the same effect on your body as somebody who is intoxicated.
People who are most likely or are at higher risk of drowsy driving are:
- Drivers who lack enough sleep;
- Commercial Drivers (buses, tow trucks, or tractor trailers);
- Workers who work long shifts (especially who work night shifts);
- Drivers with untreated sleeping disorders (such as sleep apnea, insomnia, or narcolepsy);
- Patients who take medication to help them sleep;
- Some experiencing harsh side effects of other medications;
- Frequent travelers;
- College students (especially those who take night classes); and
Did you know the recommended hours of sleep for teenagers is 9-10 hours a night? Ask yourself when’s the last time you got that many hours of sleep.
Though it can be difficult to precisely measure the frequency of drowsy driving accidents—because there’s no easy test for it, as there is for blood alcohol content—a 2018 AAA study, which analyzed video of drivers just before a crash, found that 9.5 percent of accidents were caused by sleepy drivers.
NHTSA estimates that in 2017, 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers. These crashes led to an estimated 50,000 people injured and nearly 800 deaths. But there is broad agreement across the traffic safety, sleep science, and public health communities that this is an underestimate of the impact of drowsy driving.
Lastly, if you are experiencing some of these effects, then immediately safely pull over. If you need to call an Uber, call a friend, or even sleep in the back of your car after you’ve pulled over is a much better alternative. This is a serious matter that should never be taken lightly. Taking these precautions can help save lives and prevent crashes.
Drowsy driving is preventable and it is important to raise continuous awareness and educate others on the warning signs to avoid a drowsy driving car crash.
Waamene Yowika is a student obtaining her bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering who comes from a background of doing IT Infrastructure for the State. On the side she does Marketing & Advertisement. She is a huge advocate for traffic safety especially Drunk Driving, Bicycle & Pedestrian Safety, Speeding, and Aggressive Driving.