Driving While Drowsy: 55% of drivers admit to the habit
As the holiday season approaches, many groups of families and friends will be setting out on road trips. Getting the whole family together in one place means driving long-distances and at high speeds. While you are traveling, be careful and remain vigilant about your sleep. Driving while you are tired or have not gotten enough sleep can have serious consequences for yourself, your family, and the drivers around you. According to Brake, a road safety charity based in the United Kingdom, drivers have some alarming habits that tend to ignore the need for rest. A shocking 55 percent of drivers admit to sleeping less than seven hours the night before a long journey. Not having an adequate amount of rest prior to driving leads to slower reaction times, less attentiveness to the roads, and can affect decision-making ability. When driving at high speeds, the ability to make decisions is important to remaining safely on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety administration up to 6,000 fatal crashes may be caused by drowsy drivers each year.
Driving tired puts you and everyone around you at risk. Julie Townsend, the deputy chief executive of Brake explains, “Sleepiness can catch you unawares at the wheel and it only takes a couple of seconds on a motorway to cause absolute carnage.” Often the roads taken for long-distance trips are highways will higher speed limits. Collisions occurring at high speeds are more likely to be fatal.
A recent survey revealed that 9 percent of drivers take no rest breaks on long journeys. Think of it another way: almost one in every ten drivers is driving without rest. Warning signs of drowsy driving include yawning or blinking frequently, difficulty remembering the past few miles driven, missing your exit, and drifting from your lane.
When driving long distances, be sure to rest every two hours or every 100 miles. Taking the time to rest during a trip can prevent an accident. Another major influence on your exhaustion is traveling alone or with another person. Traveling with another person will help you remain aware and you can change drivers for parts of the trip. A rested driver is less likely to be cognitively impaired.
Be sure to get an adequate amount of sleep prior to driving, especially when driving for any extended period of time. It is simple to prevent driving while tired. Before you take the wheel, get enough sleep! For adults, this means 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Travel at times when you are usually awake. It is difficult for your body to reverse its natural rhythms. If you have a sleep disorder be sure to seek treatment. Finally, do not drive if you have been drinking alcohol or have taken an medication known to cause sedation.
FusionSleep is the leader in sleep disorder diagnosis and treatment and we are ready to help you or your loved ones with any issue that may be interrupting sleep. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.