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Drowsy Driving

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:

  • 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:

  • Get enough sleep. Most adults require 7 hours of sleep every night while teens typically need 8 hours.
  • 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 drowsiness.
  • Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages.
  • If you feel tired, stop 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

Brian Pelan
Brian Pelan
OSE Director, Laramie, WY

Brian has over 20 years of professional experience in environmental, health, safety, and security (EHS&S). His areas of expertise include EHS&S risk management; ISO systems management & auditing; fluid recovery/recycling; and industrial hygiene services.

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