Categories: Sleep Disorders

Drowsy Driving Prevention Awareness Week

Oh, snap! We had the following important article about Drowsy Driving Prevention Awareness Week pre-written and ready to post two weeks ago, but got so busy researching and writing our green living influencers post that we completely missed publishing it. It’s so important though, we felt it was still very much worth addressing, so here it is.

Drowsy driving costs lives. It’s that simple. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and its annual traffic safety study released November 2014, drowsy driving is believed to be the cause of 6,400 fatal U.S. crashes every year.

That’s why the week of November 2 through 9, 2014 has been designated Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

Preventing Drowsy Driving

We all know that prevention is the best cure. We also understand how dangerous driving drowsy really is. Despite this knowledge, nearly 21 percent of all accidents with fatalities are the result of drowsy driving. It’s also believed to be a major contributing factor in more than 328,000 crashes every year.

This makes prevention a priority for everyone. These great tips will help you stay safer on the roadways by eliminating drowsy driving.

Recognizing the Signs of Drowsy Driving

Your body is a great place to begin looking for signs and symptoms of drowsy driving. You know your body best, but the following signs are often signals your body is sending that you should not be behind the wheel.

  • Frequently yawning and/or rubbing your eyes
  • Wandering thought
  • Missing miles (you don’t remember the last few miles)
  • Missing your exit
  • Drifting across lanes
  • Tailgating
  • Slower reaction times
  • Missing road signs or missing turns
  • Drifting on rumble strips or road shoulders
  • Unable to keep your eyes open
  • Nodding off

“Healthy sleep is essential to promote optimal alertness behind the wheel and prevent drowsy driving,” said Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Who’s Most at Risk of Drowsy Driving?

Some of the people at risk for drowsy driving might surprise you. Most people think of this is a condition that only impacts people who spend a lot of time on the road, like truck drivers and traveling salespeople. The truth is that anyone is susceptible to drowsy driving. The following groups tend to be at an even greater risk, though.

  • Young Drivers – teens especially are at risk because they are struggling with the combination of inexperience while driving and they do a lot of their driving at night.
  • Shift Workers – long hours, overtime hours, rotating shifts, and night shifts combine to increase the risks of drowsy driving crashes six times over other drivers, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
  • People with Untreated Sleep Disorders – People who have untreated sleep disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea, have a seven times greater risk of accidents involving drowsy driving.

While it’s important to listen to organizations, like AAA, which offers education and prevention advice for reducing drowsy driving on roadways today, we must all look within ourselves to prevent our own drowsy driving.

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    Amber Merton

    Amber Merton is an accomplished writer on the topics of green living and sleep. Her work has been covered in numerous online publications. Amber has been a regular author on the PlushBeds blog for the past 7 years.

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