The first full week of November is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. If you have never considered how dangerous a sleepy driver can be, consider the following stats.
With many people driving to and from work most days, and some driving for their job, drowsy driving is a safety topic that should not be ignored.
Drowsy Driving is Impaired Driving
Sleep deprivation causes mental impairment similar to the effects of alcohol consumption, reducing acuity and slowing the body’s reflexes. Drowsy driving can cause:
- - Worsening reaction times, hazard awareness, and sustained attention
- - Short, involuntary periods of inattention known as micro-sleep
- - Increased chance of car crashes (three times more likely)
Know the Causes
Understanding the factors that contribute to drowsiness will help you identify potential hazards. Any one or combination of the following conditions can increase the risk of drowsy driving:
- - Lack of sleep (e.g., sleeping less than six hours a night)
- - Operating vehicles for long periods of time (e.g., commercial drivers)
- - Work that requires long shifts, night shifts, or swing shifts
- - Untreated sleep disorders, including sleep apnea
- - Medication with drowsiness warnings
Know the Symptoms
To avoid drowsy driving and prevent accidents, it’s essential to understand the symptoms to know when to pull over. Common symptoms include:
- - Frequent yawning and blinking
- - Inability to remember the last few miles of driving
- - Missing the intended exit
- - Drifting in and out of a lane
- - Hitting the rumble strip
If you are feeling drained and having a hard time keeping your eyes open before getting into your vehicle, it’s a good idea to avoid driving until you feel refreshed.
Prevent Drowsy Driving
The best way to avoid drowsy driving is to prevent drowsiness altogether. Here are some tips to help you be alert no matter what you’re doing.
- - Get at least seven hours of sleep each day
- - Stick to a sleep schedule
- - Talk to your doctor if you frequently feel sleepy during the day
Incorporate Driving Safety into Your Company Culture
We can help you create a comprehensive safety program for your facility. Contact us today!