A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 1 in 24 drivers admit to "recently" falling asleep while driving. The key word being recently. That is an incredible number of people who are actually talking about falling asleep. How many others aren't talking about it or just coming close to dozing off? Add in all of the people on phones, texting, speeding, and drinking and there is a lot to watch out for on the roads.
drowsy driving was more common in men, people ages 25 to 34, those who averaged less than six hours of sleep each night, and – for some unexplained reason – Texans.
A slight lapse in attention or nodding off can lead to a car going highway speeds to travel multiple car lengths. If the driver is asleep they will have no awareness of what is going on.
Methods typically used to stay awake while driving, such as opening the window, turning up the air conditioner, and turning up the radio, have been found to not be successful. Warning signs of sleepiness include:
- hitting a rumble strip
- drifting from one's lane
- missing exits
- yawning or blinking
- trouble remembering driving the last few miles
The best thing you can do if you are tired is to get off the road. Also make sure you are practicing defensive driving because of what is going on with all of the other drivers.
I've written about the importance of sleep to driving a number of times:
Child Safety- Later School Start Times May Cut Teen Accidents, Mike Bryant | December 29, 2008 9:01 AM
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.