Did you know that operating a vehicle after going more than 20 hours without sleep is comparable to driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08%? Drowsy driving is similar to driving while impaired (NSC 2019) and is a problem that can affect anyone. Drowsy driving can triple your chances of experiencing an accident while operating a vehicle. The AAA Foundation estimates around 328,000 crashes occur on an annual basis, with 6,400 of those accidents ending in fatalities due to drowsy driving (NSC 2019).
Recognize the following fatigue factors to help prevent drowsy driving (NSC 2019):
- Constant yawing and inability to keep eyes open.
- Inability to sustain proper head and eye levels.
- Short-term memory and inability to remember recent miles driven.
- Oblivious to traffic signals and signs.
- Inability to sustain proper speeds while driving.
- Swaying lane movements.
Use the following tips to avoid fatigue (CDC 2018):
- Get enough sleep! Most adults require 7 hours of sleep every night while teens typically need 8 hours.
- Develop a sleep schedule to accustom your body to a specific rest cycle.
- If experiencing insomnia, talk to a physician about treatments options that will help with this and any other sleeping disorders.
- When driving, avoid using medications that will cause you to feel tired or drowsy.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
- If you feel sleepy, “Stop Work” and rest before you drive.
National Safety Council (NSC). 2019. Drowsy Driving is Impaired Driving. Available from: https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/safety-topics/fatigued-driving
Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC). 2018. Drowsy Driving: Asleep at the Wheel. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/features/dsdrowsydriving/index.html