According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 633 people died in drowsy-driving related crashes in 2020. While many may turn a blind eye to the feelings of fatigue while driving, you should know that driving while tired is not so different from driving while drunk!
Drowsy Driving is Just as Bad!
Driving while drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that being awake for 17 hours has a similar effect on driving ability as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%. At 24 hours awake, the impairment is similar to a BAC of 0.10%. Drowsy driving can cause:
- Slowed reaction time
- Reduced awareness
- Impaired decision-making.
These impairments can lead to poor judgment when it comes to speed, lane changes, and following distance. In some cases, drowsy driving can even cause drivers to fall asleep at the wheel.
Who is More Affected?
While it can affect anyone who drives, there are certain groups of people who are more at risk. Young drivers are more likely to be involved in fatigue-related accidents, as are shift workers and commercial truck drivers.
Men are also more likely to be involved in fatigued driving accidents than women. This may be because men are more likely to put off stopping for a rest, or because they believe they can power through even when they're tired. Whatever the reason, it's clear that fatigued driving is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
How to Prevent Fatigue Driving
It is important to take care of yourself while driving, because your health while on the road also affects others! If you are ever feeling tired while behind-the-wheel, here are five ways to help stay awake and alert!
- Get a good night’s sleep before setting out on the road.
- Take frequent breaks to rest and stretch your legs on long journeys.
- Avoid driving late at night or early in the morning when fatigue is more likely to set in.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medication that can cause drowsiness.
- If you start to feel tired, pull over at a rest stop and take a nap.
By following these simple tips, you can help to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for yourself and your passengers!
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