11 Oct Drowsy Driving Infographic
Business travelers, especially those who spend many hours driving or who travel across several time zones, can experience trouble adjusting to a schedule that differs from their bodies’ natural schedule or from what they are used to at home. Any of these circumstances may cause a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality, which can result in excessively sleepy drivers. Drowsy driving is a serious issue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year resulting in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. No matter how you describe it, driving while you are sleepy, tired, drowsy, or fatigued is extremely dangerous and a contributing factor in thousands of crashes every year.
Here are some signs that should tell you it is time to stop and rest:
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
- Daydreaming; wandering or disconnected thoughts
- Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
- Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
- Trouble keeping your head up
- Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
- Feeling restless and irritable
- Abnormal speed, tailgating, or failure to obey traffic signs
- Back tension, burning eyes, shallow breathing or inattentiveness
- Involuntary micro-sleeps (brief 2/3 second sleep episodes)
According to a National Sleep Foundation survey, 60% of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy and 37% admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Make sure to schedule all driving trips on a realistic timetable which takes into account the need for adequate rest periods and allows for traffic and weather conditions. Many people do not realize how sleepy they are. But because every sleepy driver leaves one destination and heads to another, there are people at either end and along the way who can spot warning signs and intervene.