According to a recent drowsy driving study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, roughly 16.5% of traffic fatalities involved a drowsy driver. The effects of drowsiness on the body are similar to those of alcohol and other drugs.
Some tips from the Foundation:
- Bring a driving buddy: An awake passenger can watch for signs of drowsiness.
- Plan for breaks: Schedule pit stops every two hours or so when planning your trip.
- Naps are your friend: Short, twenty-minute power naps can give you a boost of energy – just make sure you pick a safe place to stop.
- SLEEP: this one may seem obvious, but always make sure to get enough rest BEFORE your trip.
- Don’t drive after a full day: drive during normal awake hours and don’t extend your day beyond your normal waking hours – it’s too risky.
Danger Signs for Drowsy Drivers
Below is an excerpt from the study’s brochure on signs to look for related to drowsy driving.
You have trouble keeping your eyes open and focused
You can’t keep your head up
You daydream or have wandering, disconnected thoughts
You yawn frequently or rub your eyes repeatedly
You find yourself drifting from your lane or tailgating
You miss signs or drive past your exit
You feel irritable and restless
You drift off the road and hit the rumble strips
You are unable to remember how far you have traveled or what you have recently passed by