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Beware Drowsy Driving

According to the National Sleep Foundation's 2009 "Sleep in America" survey, more than half of all adult drivers - about 110 million people - confess that they have driven while drowsy in the past year. And nearly one third of adult drivers have actually fallen asleep while at the wheel!

The consequences are startling: More than 100,000 police reported crashes annually are the direct result of driver fatigue. The potential risks of driving while sleepy are at least as dangerous as the risks of driving illegally under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.

Preventing Drowsy Driving
There are many popular methods to stay awake, such as drinking a caffeinated beverage, opening windows, turning on air conditioning, or blasting the radio. Studies have shown these to be ineffective, however. The only proven preventative measure is to pull of the road and take a nap lasting at least 20 minutes. This small break is enough to restore a driver's abilities. It's best to nap, awaken more refreshed, and then continue on to a safe place to sleep longer.

Whether you are behind the wheel or a passenger, recognize the signs of drowsy driving:

  • Heavy eyelids, frequent blinking, difficulty focusing vision
  • Impaired concentration
  • Missing exits or traffic signals
  • Repeated yawning
  • Drifting into other lanes or off the road
  • Irritability or jumpiness

These symptoms are a warning no one can afford to ignore.

Driving drowsy is a hazardous practice. Sleep is not something a body can do without. At some point, the human body will simply take the rest it needs no matter where you are. Look for the signals of drowsy driving, choose not to operate a vehicle in this state and help keep the roads safer for everyone.

Drowsy Driving

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