Are you a Drowsy Driver?

Dangers of sleep deprivation include major risk of traffic accidents

  • Drivers with untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, are one of the most dangerous threats out on our roads.
  • Driver fatigue is responsible for an estimated 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and 1,500 deaths each year.
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates the cost of drowsy driving is $12.4 billion per year.
  • Drivers suffering from untreated sleep apnea are at 6 times the risk for motor vehicle accidents.
  • Situational Performance (SA) of the untreated sleep apneic is similar to that of a person with a .06 – .08 Blood Alcohol Content level.
  • Over 28% of truck drivers have sleep apnea.
  • 71% of a trucking company’s injury/fatal crash costs are attributed to drivers with untreated sleep apnea.

In spite of increasing gasoline prices, Americans are still taking to the road. Drowsy driving poses a significant danger to travelers, and one should pay attention to the following factors.

Waking Up Refreshed
Linked to Chronic Disease
Sleep Apnea
Affecting the Immune System

6 Risk Factors for Drowsy Driving

  1. Driving tired
  2. Driving long distances without rest
  3. Driving at night
  4. Alcohol consumption or medication use
  5. Driving alone
  6. Driving on long, monotonous roads

4 At-risk Groups for Drowsy Driving

  1. Teenage drivers
  2. Shift workers
  3. Professional drivers / Truck drivers
  4. People with untreated / undiagnosed sleep disorder

8 Danger Signs of Drowsy Driving

  1. Eyes close or vision goes out of focus.
  2. Difficulty keeping head up; head is drooping.
  3. Constant yawning
  4. The mind wanders away from the driving.
  5. Driver does not remember driving the last few miles.
  6. Inadvertently switching lanes – driving on the rumble strips.
  7. Constantly pulling the car back into the lane.
  8. Car goes out of the lane and almost off the road completely.

7 Preventive Measures Against Drowsy Driving

  1. Get plenty of sleep before driving.
  2. Avoid driving against the body clock.
  3. Talk with the passengers.
  4. The front seat passenger should also stay awake.
  5. Take a break from driving every 2 hours or so (100-150 miles).
  6. Drink a caffeinated beverage (short term improvement).
  7. Alcohol and driving NEVER go together. Never drink and drive!