Distracted Driving: Combatting Drowsy Driving
In a world where we are constantly on the go, it is no wonder that drowsy driving related accidents are on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2.5 % of fatal crashes are contributed to drowsy driving. This equates to thousands of fatalities each year. According to the National Sleep Foundation, one in ten drivers admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel. I believe this statistic is much higher than drivers are willing to admit. Distracted driving also plays a role, as drowsy driving is considered a form of distracted driving.
A common myth of drowsy driving is that the majority of these accidents are related to sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or even the overuse of sleep medicine such as Alluna or Zzzquill. Although sleep disorders and the use of sleep medicine do contribute to drowsy driving, the truth is that the highest cause of driving drowsy is simply driver fatigue. Driver fatigue is rampant in our society as we are constantly pushing ourselves to do more activities and take on more responsibilities. Between school, work and a four year old, I find that I am constantly in a state of exhaustion. Whether I am arriving home at 11:00 pm after school, waking up the next morning at 4:00 am to drive to work, or taking her to the lake on the weekends, I am constantly running the risk of driving drowsy. It is the small tasks that add up throughout the day that adds to the fatigue of a driver.
Afternoon drowsiness is also an important factor is combatting drowsy driving. After little sleep throughout the night, it’s easy to forget to pack a healthy lunch on the way to work. It’s easy to grab some fast food but the food tends to be high in sugar and fat, which leads to a temporary sugar rush and then crash afterwards. Driving is not recommended as it increases the chance of driving drowsy. A light lunch of some lean protein without any sugars and carbs will help keep decrease the afternoon drowsiness.
Drowsy driving has also been compared to drunk driving. Driving while drowsy slows down reaction time significantly. Drunk driving and driving drowsy are often mixed together because as a person drinks more alcohol, it increases the chance of an accident, especially if the person is already tired. Just one factor or the other by itself is terrible, but both together are a lethal combination.
We have a rule in our house that the only person allowed to sleep in the car sits in the back seat and is considered our most precious cargo. We take driving very seriously as the negative effects of irresponsibility can be permanent and far-reaching. When driving long distances, my husband and I use the buddy system and often stop at a hotel when we feel the necessity. Please help us in combatting drowsy driving.
For more driving drowsy statistics, please visit the following websites: