An estimate by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that somewhere around 100,000 police reported crashes, each year, are the direct result of driver fatigue. Just as astonishing, is the fact that it causes approximately 1,500 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than $12.5 billion dollars in losses in the United States. Since it is difficult to truly measure all crashes caused by drowsy driving, this figure may only be a small glimpse into an even larger problem.
Driving while tired or sleepy slows your reaction time and can cause impaired judgment in much the same way as driving while under the influence of alcohol. The best thing to alleviate drowsy driving is to make sure you have had adequate sleep before you get behind the wheel.
Below are some symptoms that you may be a drowsy driver:
- Frequent yawning
- Difficulty focusing
- Drifting out of your lane of travel
- Missing exits or traffic signs
- Constant blinking or heavy eyelids
- Traveling for a period with no recollection
If you find yourself getting tired while driving, below are a few tactics to help avoid a collision.
- Stop the car and pull to a safe area off of the highway
- Once safely parked, take a short nap (around 15-20 minutes)
- Limit driving between midnight and 6:00 AM
- Drink the equivalent of two cups of coffee
- Take a driving break every 100 miles or every 2 hours