Posted Date: March 5, 2008
Each year, drowsy drivers kill more than 1500 people. The Live to Run Again (LRA) campaign wants to change that statistic by educating the public and saving lives.
Sleep deprivation plays a big part in drowsy driving accidents. According to drowsydriving.org, a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that "people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in [a drowsy driving] crash as those sleeping eight hours or more, while people sleeping less than five hours increased their risk four to five times." Agility competitors often drive to and from trials in a sleep-deprived state and are therefore at increased risk.
The critical decision for every driver is when to brake and take a break. It is important to STOP DRIVING when you begin to feel fatigue.
What are the signs of drowsy driving?
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
- Daydreaming; wandering or disconnected thoughts
- Trouble remembering the last few miles driven
- Missing exits or traffic signs
- Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
- Trouble keeping your head up
- Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
- Feeling restless and irritable*
What should you do if you feel drowsy while driving?
- Pull off the road - find a place to rest or sleep
overnight and resume driving in the morning
- Take a 15- to 20-minute power nap
- Consume caffeine, but realize that it may take 30 minutesfor caffeine to begin working.
- Resume driving only when you're awake and alert.
The change to Daylight Savings Time, during which an hour is lost from the day, increases risk of a drowsy driving accident. Daylight Savings Time begins March 9th in the United States, so plan to get extra rest if you are traveling this weekend.
Visit the LRA website (www.livetorunagain.org/) for key information on preventing drowsy driving.
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Thanks to Live to Run Again for providing information used in the production of this article.
*Information gathered from www.drowsydriving.org