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Dangers of Fatigued Driving

Fatigued Driving

  • 100,000 police reported crashes and over 1,500 deaths are the result of drowsy driving each year. (NHTSA)
  • More than 40% of drivers admitted they have fallen asleep behind the wheel. (AAA)
  • In 2017, 50,000 people were injured in drowsy driving accidents and 795 of those were killed because of drowsy driving. (NHTSA)

Source of Statistics

As you can see, fatigued or drowsy driving is a dangerous driving behavior resulting in very serious consequences.


Drowsy Driving is Impaired Driving

Drowsy driving mirrors drunk driving in many ways: blurred vision, slowed reaction time and poor decision-making.

  • If you are awake for 18 hours straight, your driving will be similar to that of a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .05 (where .08 is considered drunk); at 24 hours, that increases to the equivalent of a driver with a BAC of .10. (Sleep Foundation)
  • Drivers reaction times, awareness of hazards and ability to sustain attention all worsen the drowsier the driver is.
  • The negatives of drowsy driving include impaired cognition and performance, motor vehicle crashes, workplace accidents and health consequences.
  • Drowsiness or fatigue can cause drivers to experience “tunnel vision” (when you lose sense of what’s going on in the periphery).
  • Drowsiness or fatigue can cause microsleeps (brief sleep episodes lasting from a fraction of a second up to 30 seconds).

Who is Most Likely to Drive Drowsy

Drowsy driving is more common in those who travel long distances, such as truck drivers; however, anyone can suffer from drowsiness or sleepiness while at the wheel. Many drivers may not even realize they are suffering from fatigue because the signs can be subtle.

Warning Signs to Watch out for:

  • Frequent yawning or difficulty keeping your eyes open
  • “Nodding off” or having trouble keeping your head up
  • Inability to remember driving the last few miles
  • Missing road signs or turns
  • Difficulty maintaining your speed
  • Drifting out of your lane

Helping You Stay Alert

  • Know the signs of drowsiness
  • Take frequent breaks. On long trips, stop at least every 100 miles or every 2 hours.
  • When possible, switch drivers.
  • Get a good night’s sleep before a long drive.
  • Avoid driving during the mid-afternoon and between midnight to 6:00 a.m
  • Pull over and take a nap
  • Pay attention to medication (prescription and over-the-counter) warning labels
  • Avoid caffeine during the last half of your day as it can contribute to sleep problems.

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