The Dangers of Drowsy Driving
Although we typically hear about distracted and impaired driving on the news, drowsy driving is also a dangerous epidemic on U.S. roadways. Even if drivers are able to stay awake behind the wheel, drowsiness makes drivers less attentive, slows down reaction times and impacts a driver’s ability to make decisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 2.5 percent of all fatal crashes and 2 percent of all injury crashes involve drowsy drivers, and these numbers are thought to be conservative. Although drowsy driving can happen to just about anybody who is tired, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has compiled a list of drivers who are most at risk for drowsy driving.
Drivers Most at Risk
- Commercial drivers
- Shift workers
- Drivers with untreated sleep disorders like sleep apnea
- Drivers who use sedating medications
- Drivers who do not get adequate sleep.
Asleep at the Wheel
In addition to severely impacting a driver’s ability to safely navigate the roadways, drowsy driving can lead to falling asleep behind the wheel in literally the blink of an eye. Listed below are just a few different warning signs of drowsy driving. Drivers who are asleep at the wheel are at serious and immediate risk of being involved in injury-causing and fatal head-on collisions. These are the drivers who fall asleep and drift into oncoming traffic.
Drowsy Driving Warning Signs
- Blinking frequently
- Difficulty recalling the past few miles driven
- Missing an exit
- Driving over rumble strips
Preventable Fatal Drowsy Driving Crashes
Fatal and injury causing crashes due to drowsy drivers or drivers who fall asleep at the wheel are 100 percent preventable. If you experience any of these drowsy driving warning signs, it’s time to pull over for a rest. Rolling down the window and blasting the tunes are not effective ways to stay safe and alert behind the wheel.