How to Prevent the Dangers of Drowsy Driving
While falling asleep while driving is obviously dangerous, so is driving drowsy. So much so that organizations like the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have called it a public health emergency. At Christian Brothers Automotive, we agree!
In support of The National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week (DDPW), happening November 6 – 13 of 2022, and its mission of reducing the number of drowsy drivers on the road, our team is here to explore what drowsy driving is, how to know you’re doing it, how big of an epidemic it is, and what we as drivers can do better to avoid it in addition to the dangers it presents to ourselves and others on the road!
What is Drowsy Driving?
Drowsy driving is driving while fatigued. Driving while tired doesn’t only make it more difficult to quickly respond to situations needing an immediate response, like swerving out of the way of a car that entered your lane, but it can also diminish the response you have for normal driving functions in the car, such as stopping at a red light or stop sign.
Even if you don’t feel like you’re tired at the moment, there’s no predicting when sleepiness will start to take over. Some warning signs you may be drowsy driving include:
- Frequent blinking and yawning
- Highway hypnosis or white line fever (sudden difficulty recalling the past few miles driven)
- Missing your turnoff or getting lost
- Hitting a rumble strip on the side of the highway
Why is Drowsy Driving Dangerous?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hundreds of deaths and even more crashes occur annually because of drowsy drivers. For example, in 2017 alone, drowsy driving was responsible for 50,000 injuries and nearly 800 deaths.
But truth be told, it’s hard to even estimate the impact drowsy drivers have on the number of crashes, deaths, and property damage that’s dealt every year. The most important thing to remember is that researchers agree that drowsy driving is a serious problem, but it can be difficult to determine whether it was a factor in any given accident. Government numbers are often unreported, and it’s predicted that more than 16% to 20% of fatal crashes likely involve some sort of drowsy driving.
Why Do I Get Sleepy When I Drive?
If you tend to get sleepy while driving, you’re not alone! And while not getting enough sleep may be to blame, research has shown that driving itself may be the reason for some of your drowsiness. It’s all in the vibrations your car gives off during operation that ripples into the seat of your car. Studies have shown that sleepiness can dawn on a driver within as little as 15 minutes, even if well-rested!
While purchasing anti-vibration padding for your car’s seat can reduce the calming effects of your car, it’s still important to ensure you’re doing everything you can to avoid drowsy sleeping – even more so now knowing that drivers are commonly lured to sleep due to these calming vibrations.
How to Avoid Drowsy Driving
While drowsy driving is concerning, it’s completely preventable with the right resources – and a good night of sleep. Here are some steps you can take to prevent becoming a drowsy driver yourself:
What to Do Before Your Drive:
- Get a proper eight hours of sleep (just like the doctor recommends)
- Invest in ways to get a better night’s sleep, whether that’s a new mattress, pillows, or addressing health concerns preventing a restful night
- Avoid drinking any alcohol, using marijuana, or taking any hard medications hours before driving
- If you’re forced to drive during a time you’d usually be asleep, consider altering your sleep schedule to give you proper rest beforehand
- Seek out medical intervention if the problem persists even after preventive methods have been put in place
What to Do During Your Drive:
- Drink coffee or an energy drink to give yourself an extra boost
- Listen to music, an audiobook, podcast, or other media to keep you engaged
- Resist the urge to blast the heater or AC to avoid straining your eyes
- Pull off at a rest stop for a nap if you’re feeling sleepy
- Make frequent stops on long trips to keep blood flowing and monotony broken up
We’re a Local Auto Shop Committed to Your Safety
At Christian Brothers Automotive, we’re not only into making sure our customers have the proper resources and education needed to keep them safe on the road but also the automotive services needed to keep your car working as safely as possible. From oil changes to brake inspections and everything else in between, you can turn to one of our hundreds of Christian Brothers Automotive locations to get you back on the road!Explore our map of Christian Brother Automotive locations to find your neighborhood mechanic.