Driving a vehicle comes with many safety risks. Although many jobs do not specifically require driving a car, this is something that a majority of employees everywhere do daily. According to Gallup News, 83% of Americans say they drive "frequently or several times a week." Long workweeks and far commutes to a workplace create the real issue of Drowsy Driving.
This is a dangerous occurrence that most people could attest to experiencing at one point or another. Here are some interesting statistics on drowsy driving listed on the National Safety Council website:
- 20% of Americans admit to falling asleep behind the wheel in the past year and 40% admit to it happening at least once in their driving careers.
- Drowsy driving in 2015 claimed the lives of 5,000 people (Governors Highway Association Report)
- Drowsy driving IS impaired driving. Driving after going with more than 20 hours without sleep makes your reaction time the equivalent of a 0.08% BAC, the U.S legal limit.
- A study by the AAA foundation says there is an estimated 328,000 crashes from drowsy driving annually in the U.S,
It is simple to recognize the symptoms of drowsy driving, but it is even easier to eliminate the hazard before it occurs. After a long workday, it is normal to feel tired, but make sure you are aware of your state of mind and are alert enough to be focused on driving. It is also essential to be knowledgeable of the side effects of the medications you may be taking. Get enough rest, take frequent breaks when driving, or switch off if you have another driver.
Contrary to what one may believe, caffeine is not the best answer because a fully awake driver is not the same as a well-rested and conscientious driver. Merely pulling over to take a walk, stretch out, or grab some fresh air can have more of an effect as a bottle of energy drink.
Be prepared and be aware.
Have a safe summer on the roadways!