Driving while tired is just as bad as driving while drunk, according to a new AAA study. The research calls your safety into question when driving tired behind the wheel, and how other tired drivers can affect you.
Getting behind the wheel with only a few hours of sleep under your belt could lead to disaster, a AAA spokesperson told NBC’s Today. Getting an hour less than your normal amount of sleep could double your risk of an accident. Even more significantly increases the danger.
Sleepy driving affects your ability to safely navigate the road. You might find yourself yawning, closing your eyes periodically, or even dozing off and missing an exit or starting to veer off the pavement.
Drowsy driving isn’t a new threat, but the research suggests it’s an important one to fight against. Here’s how officials are responding to drowsy driving on the road, plus what you can do to stop it.
How Road Authorities Are Responding to the Danger
Roads are already being reconfigured to face the challenge of keeping people on them, and drowsy drivers will benefit from some of these changes and more. Rumble strips are one of the innovative way to address the larger problem of impaired driving, and one the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is getting behind.
Their strategic plan this year includes releasing information that will allow state and regional authorities to begin or accelerate the process of installing the easily heard rumblers. The tech can wake tired drivers up to lane departures and keep them from drifting into danger.
Infrastructure isn’t the only way to fight zombie driving, though. Other sweeping changes are in the NHTSA’s line of sight.
Creating policies, working with employers and local governments to help educate people with informative flyers, and promoting more research into the subject are just some of the ways the NHTSA and others are taking a proactive stance in fighting sleepy drivers.
But the strongest opponent of dozing at the wheel is you.
Keeping The Zombie Out of the Driver’s Seat
Staying alert on the road comes down to the decisions you make before and during our drives. No rumble strip is going to completely avoid the reality that you or another driver might be about ready to pass out at the wheel. Good habits can keep us safe while driving, and start the previous night.
The first step is making sure you’re getting enough sleep. Adults need 7–9 hours of sleep a night, according to the Mayo Clinic, but teens and young adults could use up to 10. You might need a little more or less, but regular sleep is the best way to prevent accidents.
But in a country where time is money, a couple more hours might seem like a luxury you can’t afford, even though you should strive to. Luckily, there are a few ways you can stay safe even while on the road.
Pulling off the road and taking a power nap, traveling with a passenger, and recognizing you’re tired can all keep you safe on your commute or drive, and are recommended by AAA. Caffeine is not a substitute for sleep, either. If you aren’t getting enough rest, coffee might not be enough.
Driving drowsy can easily turn into a deadly occasion, just like drunk driving, and the price is far too high for you to allow yourself to do it.
The Cost of Drowsy Driving
Developing educational materials to raise awareness, working with employers, improving vehicle technology, and changing our infrastructure are just a few of the ways authorities are renewing their efforts at combating drowsy driving.
The prospect that driving tired is just as bad as driving drunk is shocking, and trying to change this national habit quickly could pose some trouble.
Falling asleep at the wheel is a reality most of us face at least once in our lives, and often more than that. Meaning many other drivers face it, too. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about auto accidents, and can investigate some of the specifics about yours, including if drowsy driving was involved. Fill out our free, no-risk case evaluation form if you’re ready today.