Countless Americans are affected by car crashes every year. Many of those injured often point to distracted driving as the main culprit. However, others often overlook the dangers of drowsy driving. Drowsy driving can happen when motorists become sleepy or fatigued behind the wheel, inhibiting their reaction time and decision-making skills.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving has caused thousands of collisions and injuries in recent years. This data is problematic, as people return to their regular commutes.
What causes drowsy driving?
It all depends on the person’s situation. Typically, it happens when the driver hasn’t had enough sleep. It could be due to alcohol use, side effects from a medication, a sleep disorder or fatigue from working irregular hours. Unfortunately, this is quite common in the United States. According to a survey from the CDC, 4% of respondents said they fell asleep while driving at least once.
What are the red flags of drowsy driving?
If a motorist frequently displays any of the following behaviors, this can be concerning:
- Frequent yawning or blinking
- Drifting in and out of traffic lanes
- Forgetting to make necessary turns or exits to get to a destination
- Frequently hitting sleeper lines on the side of the road
- Difficulty remembering directions
How can I prevent dozing off behind the wheel?
Not everyone’s schedule allows them to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. But if motorists have a sleep disorder or experience adverse side effects from alcohol or medication, they may want to speak with their health care provider.
Drowsy driving can be dangerous for anyone, no matter who is at fault. But by acknowledging the dangers, people can take the necessary steps to prevent themselves from getting in a collision.