No Drowsy Driving

A short nap can make the difference

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Falling Asleep at the Wheel: Deadly Consequences

Posted by on 9:13 pm in Drowsy Driving Articles, Drowsy Driving Images | 0 comments

Falling Asleep at the Wheel: Deadly Consequences

I could recite fact after fact about falling asleep at the wheel.  I could tell you that according to a study done by the CDC that 1 in 25 drivers have admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel during the last 30 days. I could also tell you that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they estimate that over 100,000 accidents each year are attributed to to drowsy driving and sleep deprivation. I could spew out fact after fact but facts are boring.  They don’t tell us the faces behind the 100,000 people who are impacted by falling asleep at the wheel.  Maybe you drive drowsy, exhausted from sleep deprivation, exhausted from a long day at work or from staying up all night with the baby. The truth is that everyone has days where they lack sleep. Late night party? Early morning meeting? Picking a friend up from the airport?  Getting a call at 2:00 am to pick up a drunk relative?  The list goes on… The first time my life was impacted by drowsy driver was when my sister-in-law, Kelly, was involved in an accident. Kelly was driving to work early one morning on a freeway that was divided by a grass median.  A driver coming home from a graveyard shift fell asleep, crossed the median and crashed head on into her car. Kelly was lucky - she lived. She walked away with her life but she also walked away with a broken leg and ankle. Seven years later, Kelly still has PTSD from the accident and her ankle never healed properly. One family dramatically impacted because of a person who was exhausted and sleep deprived decided to drive home.  Often times we don’t feel like we have a choice or we may be embarrassed to call a friend or family member. Drowsy driving is the equivalent of drunk driving.  It’s okay to admit that you are tired and you need help. You may feel you can combat drowsy driving by rolling down the window, grabbing a red bull and riding it out.  You may think that your choices will only impact yourself - until they don’t. 91 people died on Utah roads this summer due to drowsy driving from fatigue or distracted driving from cell phones. Reality check: drive drowsy and killing someone equals jail time. It’s a deadly consequence for the receiving person and a lifetime of guilt for you. You may think that the real culprits of distracted driving and drowsy driving are not the every day population zipping from one place to another but are long haul truck drivers. In a recent high profile sleep deprived accident, Kevin Roper, truck driver for Walmart, recently hit comedian Tracy’s Morgan limo bus, injuring four people and killing one person. This has brought recent scrutiny of professional truck drivers that commute long haul.  These professional drivers are not the culprits. Fatigue related accidents are the result of every day, sleep deprived people. Look no further than a car near you. Truck drivers are highly trained, professional drivers that can literally drive circles around the every day driver. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, large trucks accounted for only 13% of all passenger related deaths. When all is said and done, please remember that...

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Combat Drowsy Driving - 5 Easy Tips

Posted by on 5:50 pm in Drowsy Driving Articles | 1 comment

Combat Drowsy Driving – 5 Easy Tips

Combat drowsy driving with these 5 simple, but live-saving, tips!

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How to Stay Awake When Driving

Posted by on 5:48 pm in Drowsy Driving Articles, Drowsy Driving Images, Uncategorized | 0 comments

HOW TO STAY AWAKE WHEN DRIVING Drowsy driving is a huge problem in the United States.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration system or NHSTA,  drowsy driving causes more than 100.000 crashes per year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 drowsy driving deaths.  The NHSTA doesn’t include distracted driving in their statistics.  According to Zero Fatalities, Utah, in 2012 there were 14 drowsy driving deaths in the state of Utah alone.  This begs the question, how can we prevent drowsy driving?  Suppose your were up late last night and had an early morning meeting.  Your work ends late, it is nine thirty at night and you find it hard to stay awake while driving home.  What can you do to stay awake while at the wheel?  Here are ten tips for how to stay awake while driving. TIPS AND TRICKS TO STAY AWAKE WHEN DRIVING How to Stay Awake Tip #1   Take a power nap.  An old trucker’s trick to stay away is to take a 20 minute power nap before heading out on long runs.  Don’t be afraid to pull off the road and take a short nap as well in order to stay awake. How to Stay Awake Tip #2   Pull over and take a brisk walk.  Robert Thayer, a professor at California State University ran a study to see  what produced more energy, a candy bar or a ten-minute walk.  The ten-minute walk was far more effective.  The candy bar gave immediate energy, but soon after it produced a crash.  The walk showed signs of energy for two hours, proving it a good source of drowsy driving prevention. How to Stay Awake Tip #3   Drink plenty of water.  Dehydration causes drowsy driving. How to Stay Awake Tip #4  Crank up the tunes!  Music you hate is the best music to keep you awake. How to Stay Awake Tip #5   Listen to audio books.  Audio books help keep your mind focused and your eyes open.  Just make sure to select exciting audio books to keep you awake. How to Stay Awake Tip #6   Turn on the air conditioning or open a window. How to Stay Awake Tip #7   Don’t use cruise control and make adjustments to seat and mirrors.  These activities while driving will keep you busy and are great for drowsy driving prevention. How to Stay Awake Tip #8  Call a friend or family member and have an interesting conversation.  Remember to be safe while doing so and use a headset or hands-free device.   How to Stay Awake Tip #9  Eat healthy snacks for energy.  This is one of my favorite ways to stay awake.  It helps to have small snacks to help to stay away while driving.  The food provides energy in the form of calories while also giving your something to do.  My favorite snack is sunflower seeds.  They are lower in calories and keep you entertained getting the pesky shells off.  For more ideas of healthy snacks check out these suggestions of foods that help you stay awake from McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois. How to Stay Awake Tip #10 Lastly for the risk taker to stay awake, hold your wallet out the window. These tips to stay awake may seem simple or arbitrary, but they really do work.  Keep the roads safe and stay awake at the...

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Driver Drowsiness Detection Saves Lives

Posted by on 3:52 pm in Drowsy Driving Articles, In the News | 0 comments

Driver Drowsiness Detection Saves Lives     The Bosch driver drowsiness detection system lets drivers know they are falling asleep at the wheel. What’s the best way to stop a driver from falling asleep at the wheel? Driver judgment remains the most important factor, but new research shows that steering data can be used for a driver drowsiness detection system in cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes and 1,550 deaths per year. The top three factors in these crashes are: Adequate sleep — Anyone who operates a vehicle without enough sleep is, in effect, driving drowsy. Shift work — Those who work “graveyard” and others who, for work reasons, must drive between midnight and 6 a.m. Sleep disorders — Those with unknown or untreated sleep disorders are at higher risk for nodding off while driving. Is Driver Drowsiness Detection the solution? Each of these factors are controlled by driver judgment. But there is one area of research – driver drowsiness detection – that has showed promise for warning drivers they may be driving while fatigued. A 2012 study from Washington State University found that erratic steering patterns are a good indicator that the operator is driving while drowsy. Also, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Advanced Driving Simulator in Iowa also published a paper in 2012 that details the use of steering wheel angle data for spotting drowsiness-related lane departures. Bosch Automotive Technology now sells a driver drowsiness detection system based on steering wheel data for automakers to install. Volkswagen offers it on certain Passat models as part of its “fatigue detection system.” Mercedes Benz calls its driver drowsiness detection “Attention Assist,” and Volvo is researching a system that uses dashboard sensors for driver drowsiness detection. Like an internal rumble strip for drowsy drivers In essence, these products are an in-car version of rumble strips. Those are the ribbons of textured pavement on the shoulders of highways that produce a loud rumble when tires cross them. Many of those surveyed in a Harvard School of Public Health study described rumble strips as lifesavers that brought them out of partial sleep or highway hypnosis before they would have crashed. But the researchers noted that the drivers often failed to accept the most important reality of hitting rumble strips: if they did it once, they may do it again. In other words, a driver who is jolted awake by a rumble strip needs to do more than simply return to his lane. Time-honored techniques to combat drowsy driving If you get drowsy while driving, it is best to stop driving and rest, if even for a short time. With or without an in-car warning system, there is simply no better method to avoid becoming a part of drowsy driving statistics. The ideal, of course, is to sleep enough to begin with, but even as little as 20 minutes of sleep on the side of the road can be the difference between life and death. The next most effective to combat drowsy driving is caffeine. It doesn’t matter the form, the equivalent of two cups of coffee have been found to make a drowsy driver safer. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that brief exercise works, nor does it help to open the windows...

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Drowsy Driving: Falling Asleep at the Wheel on a Road Trip

Posted by on 3:51 pm in Drowsy Driving Articles, Drowsy Driving Images, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Drowsy Driving:  Falling Asleep at the Wheel on a Road Trip

drowsy driving on a road trip can cause you to fall asleep at the wheel

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Close Call: Arrive Alive

Posted by on 12:19 pm in Drowsy Driving Articles | 0 comments

Close Call: Arrive Alive

Most of us have experience or know of someone who has experienced an accident on the roads. I have not had to experience such an event, but I have had family members and friends who have.  One such event occurred early one night a few years ago.  I got a call around 10:30 PM from my father informing me that my brother had fallen asleep at the wheel coming home from a party around 10:00 PM.  He was getting off onto an exit ramp that went over an overpass with a slight curve over the freeway.  He experienced a microsleep as he was getting off the freeway hitting the barrier on the overpass. Luckily the vehicle did not roll over and tumble down onto oncoming traffic.  For him, it was a close call and fortunately he arrived home alive. Fatigue Driving leads up to the close call My brother had claimed that he had fallen asleep at the wheel, but he had actually experienced a microsleep.  These microsleeps imped quick reaction in avoiding high-speed collisions.  My brother had experienced fatigue that day from sleep deprivation the night before and stress at work.  He thought he could make it home and was overly confident in his driving abilities that night. Accordingly to the National Sleep Foundation, drowsy driving impairs driving performance as much as alcohol.  A recent study by the American Automobile Association estimates that one out of every six traffic accidents and one out of eight crashes requiring hospitalization of car drivers and / or passengers is due to drowsy driving. Most crashes caused by fatigue driving involve someone driving alone.  A single driver does not have someone to talk too nor anyone to notice when the driver is getting sleepy.  The driver does not try to avoid an accident.  A sleepy driver does not react quickly enough to danger. Avoiding the close call The three best ways to prevent drowsy driving require behavior changes.  First is to avoid medications and alcohol.  Second is to make sure you get enough sleep the night before.  Getting up extra early in the morning to start a long drive is not a good strategy.  Prevention is the best way to avoid drowsy driving.  Lastly, pull off the road and get sleep when you are feeling tired.  Do this even if you think your driving ability is not being affected.  Take short power naps to rest your eyes.  Many do not really know how much less alert they are.  Best is to schedule breaks every two hours or every 100 miles according to the American Automobile Association. Unfortunately for my brother, it was a short drive home from a party.  Due to the short distance, he was overly confident in his abilities and it almost cost him his life.  When it comes to drowsy driving or driving under the influence, one could argue they are one in the same.  Getting behind the wheel without being 100% aware is putting your life, your passengers and other drivers in danger.  Take the time and dedication in identifying the signs of drowsy driving can help us all achieve the goal of zero fatalities on our roads. Lets all avoid the close call and arrive home alive. Statistics were taken from the National Sleep Foundation and American Automobile Association web...

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Drive Safe: Drive Alert

Posted by on 4:50 am in Drowsy Driving Articles | 0 comments

Drive Safe: Drive Alert

Driving Drowsy or Blindfolded? It’s not every day you see a 10 foot tall, plastic cow while driving down the interstate. For my wife and I, it was definitely a first and a fun highlight on our 12 hour road trip to Seattle, Washington. Driving safe is a priority for us, so I asked my wife to get the camera and snag the picture so that I could pay attention to the road. From the time we first saw the cow, a few hundred yards off, to the time we got the first picture taken (through the back seat window), about 5-10 seconds had passed. As I look back to that experience, I am reminded of how much distance is covered in such a short amount of time. Whether we’re driving distracted or driving drowsy, a lot can happen in a short amount of time, especially if we don’t drive alert. It’s obviously clear that driving blindfolded is a really bad idea, which begs the question: why would texting and driving or driving fatigued ever cross our minds? Perhaps the biggest reason is the perception of danger. Dangerous Driving Habits Dangerous driving habits include the obvious and highly publicized dangers of DUI or driving under the influence of substances which can impair your ability to drive safely. Recent attention has also been given to the dangers of texting while driving, with many states passing legislature to ban texting and general cell phone use for all drivers. Both of these can, with relative ease, be attributed to distracted driving accidents, and both are generally volitional acts- almost nobody “accidentally” responds to a friend’s text or downs a few beers. While, it is more difficult to attribute drowsy driving accidents, the danger is still present and includes more than just falling asleep at the wheel. Drowsy Driving Facts As reported by the CDC, drowsiness when driving“makes drivers less attentive, slows reaction time, and affects a driver’s ability to make decisions.” Furthermore, the National Sleep Foundation stated that “being awake for 24 hours is equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .10, which is considered legally drunk and leaves you at risk for a sleepy driving crash.” However, as suggested earlier, it is the perception of danger that most likely influences our driving behaviors. We’re not necessarily in control of when our bodies succumb to fatigue, and that timing could prove fatal. Drive Safe: Drive Alert There are a lot of drowsy driving statistics: we get it- it’s bad. So what can we do? Perhaps one of the most important factors is awareness. Utah has dedicated the third full week of August as “Drowsy Driving Awareness Week” and many other states have taken initiatives to promote awareness of the dangers of driving drowsy. At-risk groups include: young drivers, shift workers (working the night shift), commercial drivers, and people with undiagnosed or untreated sleeping disorders (like sleep apnea). Having an awareness of the dangers and who is more at-risk can help to take certain precautions before hitting the road. For example, make sure to get enough sleep and, when possible, take a traveling companion with you! Also be sure to look for warning signs like excessive yawning, hitting a rumble strip, or missing an exit. A lot can happen in 5-10 seconds,  so drive safe and drive...

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Self driving cars could end drowsy driving deaths

Posted by kylehanagarne on 8:51 pm in Drowsy Driving Articles | 0 comments

Drowsy driving is a human problem Imagine a world where there were no deaths caused by drowsy driving.  What would it require? It would require a driver that was never too tired, one that always had enough sleep.  It would require a driver that would avoid dangerous driving at all times, one that could quickly and accurately sense danger from every direction whether her eyes were open or not.  Humans aren’t capable of never driving drowsy because it is impossible to predict when and why you’ll find yourself wanting a nap.  Bodies are amazing things with highly efficient sensory organs and vastly intelligent brains. Brains, however don’t always make the right decisions.  While the probability of driving tired goes down if we are well rested, that is not a guarantee that on a long drive (or a short one for that matter) you won’t find yourself falling asleep while driving even if you made every effort not to.  But, humans have to drive the cars don’t they? The self driving car is here Although it sounds like science fiction, some companies have been developing the technology for driverless cars for some time.  Most notably, Google has developed a self driving car that is being tested on the roads of California and Nevada right now with pretty fantastic results.  If you’re a fan of NODD, you’ll be interested to know that data already shows that the driverless car is safer than a car driven by humans.  In a powerful demonstration performed by Google, you can see how a self driving car can protect us from more than just those driving with not enough sleep.  If humans could rely on a self driving car instead of themselves to get from A to B, then preventing sleepy driving  is just the tip of the iceberg as far as driver safety is concerned. Driverless cars are safer and more convenient Drowsy driving kills way too many people every year, as do distracted driving and drunk driving.  The number of people killed by these different types of dangerous driving could become practically zero if all the human-driven cars were replaced with reliable driverless cars.  In fact, I long for the day I can do my “driving” when I’m most tired.  I hate twelve hour drives with a one-year-old.  Wouldn’t it be nice if you could hop in your car at 10:00 PM, kids already asleep, and wake up at grandma’s house? Also,  I’d like my commute to look like this: Wake up refreshed and go to work.  Not only would drowsy driving not be dangerous, it could make your day a lot better and could allow you to live as far away from your job as you wanted! This technology isn’t going to go away, so if you get the chance to support Google in their efforts of making the self driving car mainstream, do it.  It will save countless lives, make transportation cheaper for people and products, and make the world more accessible to the handicapped.  In the meantime, make sure you get enough...

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Awareness of Drowsy Driving

Posted by on 6:21 pm in Drowsy Driving Articles, Drowsy Driving Images | 0 comments

Awareness of Drowsy Driving Recently we took our children on a 10 day vacation to visit New York and Pennsylvania.   During our trip, we stayed in a condo in central Pennsylvania near the Poconos Mountains.  From this central location, we were within a 1.5-2 hour one-way drive of many great locations – including Philadelphia, New York City, and Harrisburg.  Our plan was to make day trips to these surrounding locations. After waking up early, driving to our preferred location and seeing the many sites, I was often tired from the day’s activities.    Even though I was exhausted, I felt comfortable driving because I knew I could trade driving responsibilities with my wife if I ever experienced drowsiness or driver fatigue.  There as one exception on this trip. On this day, we visited Hershey Park.   We knew at the end of the day at the amusement park we would all be exhausted.  We thought about making the drive back, however, we knew there were dangers of driving drowsy.   I think we were especially cautious, as we have heard drowsy driving stories, including one from a friend who fell asleep coming home from work late one night – simply a 30 minute drive.  He veered off of the side of the road, rolling his car.  Luckily, the road was deserted, he was wearing his seat-belt and he was able to walk away with minor injuries.   This automobile accident hit him hard; knowing that he could have not only lost his life, leaving his family fatherless, but could have taken the life of another individual. The results of this had an impact on me and increased my awareness of drowsy driving.  Why should I put my family at risk, or anyone else, and become another one of the drowsy driving statistics.   Rather than returning to our condo, we spent the night in a hotel near Hershey.  Yes, this was an added expense, however, the cost was much less expensive than the any costs related to a drowsy driving accident. Education on Highway Safety and Drowsy Driving Now, you may not always be in close proximity of a hotel or want to incur the expense.  Be aware that these situations are being addressed.  Many states, including Utah, are supporting causes to reduce sleep deprived driving and increase awareness of drowsy driving through educational messages, rumble strips and posting signs throughout the state.  Utah is encouraging “Drowsy Drivers Use Next Exit”. As posted, Rest Areas are a place to simply take a break in case of fatigued driving.   Through the udot.utah.gov web-site there is Rest Area Information and a map to Utah’s Rest Areas. Facts on Drowsy Driving I am sure most of us have experienced drowsiness while driving and have attempted find ways to stay awake.   We need to pay attention to these signs of drowsiness.  The NHTSA - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides drowsy driving statistics, data related to drowsy driving and automobile crashes, drowsy driving facts, and many other drowsy driving tips.   We need to become well educated on highway safety and increase our awareness of drowsy driving.  Through these measures, hopefully we can consider our options when drowsy and any eliminate potential fatalities associated with drowsy...

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Drowsy Drivers Will Travel

Posted by on 2:53 pm in Drowsy Driving Articles, Drowsy Driving Images, In the News, Press Releases | 1 comment

Drowsy Drivers Will Travel

Road Trips and a Drowsy Driver Travel Benefits 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. Driving Statistics 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...

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