Drowsy Drivers Will Travel
Road Trips and a Drowsy Driver
When you first think of traveling the world what comes to your mind? For me, it’s the opportunity to saturate my senses in an environment filled with new sights, sounds, and experiences. The LA Times and USA Today built upon these feelings by suggesting that traveling also provides educational and health benefits. Given the benefits gained through travel; a focus on road safety is a key aspect often overlooked, for without it, our chance of arriving safely to our destination is severely diminished.
Drowsy Driving Experience
This notion was imprinted on my mind when my uncle and I set out on an Alaskan road trip. Having completed three days of driving and fighting sleep deprivation, we found ourselves in the middle of the Canadian Wilderness. Knowing the dangers associated with being a drowsy driver, my uncle and I knew we should stop and get some rest. However, our excitement of reaching Alaska’s untamed wilderness coupled with the naivety of youth convinced us to continue driving on virtually no sleep. With minutes turning into hours, my uncle drifted off to sleep leaving me to fight my own feelings of tiredness and driver fatigue. About an hour later, I was awakened by the rumble strips as we crossed the road’s shoulder and headed toward a roadside ravine. Miraculously, I was able to correct the car and reenter the driving lane without my uncle knowing anything had happened. However, this experience forced me to focus on highway safety and not being a drowsy driver as I pulled to the side of the road. After my uncle woke up, I told him what had happened, and as he relayed a similar experience from a few hours before we decided that road safety would be our first priority going forward.
This experience sparked my interest in the actual statistics of how many travel related deaths occur each year in the United States and how many of those are due to drowsy driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) approximately 30,000 highway deaths occurred during 2012 which is a 3.3 percent increase from the previous year. Increasing awareness of road safety and helping drivers follow best practices will allow this statistic to decrease. The insurance company AAA knows the importance of keeping drowsy drivers off the road and has provided suggestions on how each of us cannot only remain alert while driving but also recognize the early symptoms of sleepiness. Had my uncle and I followed AAA’s recommendation and not traveled during times when we are normally asleep or made sure that we both stayed awake while on the road we could have limited the possibility of being involved in an accident.
Lets take the time to familiarize ourselves with road safety so we will be able to help organizations like NOD.D. and Zero Fatalities reach their goals through increased public awareness of the dangers driving presents as we unite to focus our families and loved ones to truly drive with zero fatalities.