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Drowsy driving is a major problem around the globe. The risk, danger, and often tragic results of drowsy driving are alarming. Drowsy driving is the dangerous combination of driving and sleepiness or fatigue. This usually happens when a driver has not slept enough, but it can also happen because of untreated sleep disorders, medications, drinking alcohol, or shift work. No one knows the exact moment when sleep comes over their body. Falling asleep at the wheel is clearly dangerous but being sleepy affects your ability to drive safely even if you don’t fall asleep. Drowsiness: Makes you less able to pay attention to the road. Slows reaction time if you must brake or steer suddenly. Affects your ability to make good decisions. Did You Know? An estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers (aged 18 years or older) report having fallen asleep while driving in a month. Reports estimate that in 2017 drowsy driving was responsible for 91,000 crashes—resulting in 50,000 injuries and nearly 800 deaths. However, these numbers are underestimated, and up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers. If you have any of these warning signs, pull over to rest or change drivers. Simply turning up the radio or opening the window are not effective ways to keep you alert. Yawning or blinking frequently. Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven. Missing your exit. Drifting from your lane. Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road. Who’s more likely to drive drowsy? Drivers who do not get enough sleep. Commercial drivers who operate vehicles such as tow trucks, tractor trailers, and buses. Shift workers who are people that work the night shift or long shifts. Drivers with untreated sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Drivers who use medications that make them sleepy. Prevent drowsy driving before taking the wheel Get enough sleep! Most adults need at least 7 hours of sleep a day, while teens need at least 8 hours. Develop good sleeping habits, such as sticking to a sleep schedule. If you have a sleep disorder or have symptoms of a sleep disorder such as snoring or feeling sleepy during the day, talk to your doctor about treatment options. Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medications that make you sleepy. Be sure to check the label on any medications or talk to your pharmacist. Every driver should take responsibility for staying “Awake at the Wheel” by: Making it a daily priority to get sufficient sleep Refusing to drive when sleep deprived Recognizing the signs of drowsiness Pulling off the road to a safe location when sleepy “Drowsiness is similar to alcohol in how it compromises driving ability by reducing alertness and attentiveness, delaying reaction times, and hindering decision-making skills,” Drowsy driving is deadly, but it can be prevented. Prevent Drowsy Driving: Stay Awake at the Wheel!

By Harry | 20 Jan 2022