The Dangers of Drowsy Driving

This scenario may seem all too familiar, driving back from work, coming home from long weekend at the beach, and feeling tired but pushing through another 2 hours when you’ve already been driving for 6. Most of us drivers have been there, but many people do not realize the dangers of drowsy driving. Driving drowsy increases the likelihood that you will be involved in an accident, and the chances that you could be seriously injured or killed while driving.

Scientists compare driving tired to driving drunk, because, like alcohol, excessive sleepiness slows down our reaction times, decreases overall awareness and impairs judgment. Despite the dangers, an alarming 41 % of drivers admitted to having fallen asleep while driving, according to study released by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Most of us know not to drive drunk or let a friend or a family member get behind the wheel while intoxicated, many of us don’t seem to act as responsibly when it comes to drowsy driving. Tiredness can be hard to recognize, even for the person driving, so here are some signs to look out for (from the National Sleep Foundation):

  • Turning up the radio or rolling down the window to stay awake
  • Impaired reaction time and judgment
  • Decreased performance, vigilance and motivation
  • Trouble focusing, keeping your eyes open or your head up
  • Daydreaming and wandering thoughts
  • Yawning or rubbing your eyes repeatedly
  • Drifting from your lane, tailgating and missing signs or exits
  • Felling restless, irritable or aggressive

There are a number of ideas being recommended to avoid falling asleep behind the wheel: drinking coffee , listening to the radio, pinching yourself are all quick fixes that are only short term, the fact is that the only remedy for avoiding drowsy driving accident is getting adequate amount of sleep.

The Sleep Blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Instead, this website provides general information for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider if you have questions or concerns regarding any medical condition or treatment.

4 thoughts on “The Dangers of Drowsy Driving”

  1. Where I live they are now requiring all truck drivers to have a sleep study before they can go on the road. if they are positive with Sleep Apnea they then cannot go back on teh road until they have a CPAP device. This is obviously a big issue if they are making it a requirment and not allowing them to drive until they get tested and treated if diagnosed. Many have gone to home testing to get faster results. Check out for more info.

  2. Falling asleep during driving is so dangerous! I think people should learn how to take a break especially when it comes to long hours of driving.

  3. May I just say what a comfort to uncover somebody who really understands what they’re talking about on the internet. You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people really need to look at this and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you are not more popular given that you surely have the gift.

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