According to a study conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention on drowsy driving, nearly one in 24 Americans have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel over the past 30 days – that’s about 4% of us!
The CDC suggests that the statistics may even be higher, as a large percentage of drivers aren’t always aware that they fall asleep, a phenomenon called micro-sleep, which occurs when a person nods off for a few seconds without being aware of it.
The report, which was culminated from a survey of nearly 150,000 drivers across 19 states and D.C., puts in perspective the lifestyles we live. It suggests that sleepiness at the wheel can be as risky as alcohol, and can slow reaction times and impair decision-making.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 2 percent of crashes involve drowsy driving. Adults who reported frequent insufficient sleep, snoring, or unintentionally falling sleep during the day are more likely to drive drowsy than those who did not report those characteristics. Drowsing driving is also more common in people between the ages of 25-34, and moreso than women.
Here are some options to help prevent these instances from occurring:
1. As soon as you start to feel drowsy, pull over and drink something caffeinated. Make sure to drink cold drink water and sports drinks to stay well hydrated.
2. Pull over and take a 15-20 minute nap (the amount of time it takes caffeine to kick in) then do some jumping jacks, toe touches and stretching to increase blood flow and energize your system.
3. Try to aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
4. Avoid drinking alcohol or taking any medications that can induce drowsiness before driving, and avoid fatty and sugary foods while driving, which will leave you sluggish and fatigued.
5. Stop often on long drives.
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