Be on the Alert for Drowsy Driving
The first full week of November is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. If you have never considered how dangerous a sleepy driver can be, consider the following stats.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2017, drowsy driving was responsible for 91,000 crashes.
- The National Sleep Foundation reports drowsy driving is responsible for 6,400 deaths in the U.S. annually.
- According to the CDC, one in 25 adult drivers admits to falling asleep at the wheel in the last 30 days.
- The 2020 Sleep in America® poll reported 44% of people feel sleepy 2-4 days a week and another 28% feel sleepy 5-7 days a week.
With many people driving to and from work most days, and some driving for their job, drowsy driving is a safety topic that should not be ignored.
Drowsy Driving is Impaired Driving
- Worsening reaction times, hazard awareness, and sustained attention
- Short, involuntary periods of inattention known as micro-sleep
- Increased chance of car crashes (three times more likely)
Know the Causes
Understanding the factors that contribute to drowsiness will help you identify potential hazards. Any one or combination of the following conditions can increase the risk of drowsy driving:
- Lack of sleep (e.g., sleeping less than six hours a night)
- Operating vehicles for long periods of time (e.g., commercial drivers)
- Work that requires long shifts, night shifts, or swing shifts
- Untreated sleep disorders, including sleep apnea
- Medication with drowsiness warnings
Know the Symptoms
To avoid drowsy driving and prevent accidents, it’s essential to understand the symptoms to know when to pull over. Common symptoms include:
- Frequent yawning and blinking
- Inability to remember the last few miles of driving
- Missing the intended exit
- Drifting in and out of a lane
- Hitting the rumble strip
If you are feeling drained and having a hard time keeping your eyes open before getting into your vehicle, it’s a good idea to avoid driving until you feel refreshed.
Prevent Drowsy Driving
The best way to avoid drowsy driving is to prevent drowsiness altogether. Here are some tips to help you be alert no matter what you’re doing.
- Get at least seven hours of sleep each day
- Stick to a sleep schedule
- Talk to your doctor if you frequently feel sleepy during the day
Incorporate Driving Safety into Your Company Culture
We can help you create a comprehensive safety program for your facility. Lean on our Safety Specialists, Qualified Safety Sales Professionals (QSSP), and OSHA-Certified Trainers to help you keep your workers safe. Contact us today!