Description For The Warning Signs Of Drowsy Driving
NHTSA research shows that nearly 83.6 million sleep-deprived people are in the workplace, at school, or driving on the road. Below are the three factors that most often cause drowsy-driving crashes.
- occur most frequently between midnight and 6 a.m. or in the late afternoon. At both times of the day, people experience dips in their circadian rhythm—the human body’s internal clock that regulates sleep;
- often involve a single driver (no passengers) running off the road at a high rate of speed with no evidence of braking; and
- frequently occur on rural roads and highways.
Why Drowsy Driving is Dangerous
A drowsy driver is an unsafe driver because performance is negatively impacted. Drowsy driving symptoms are similar to those experienced driving under the influence of alcohol. In fact, driving for 20 hours without sleep makes you as dangerous as someone driving with a .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC).
Below is a list of the effects that make drowsy driving so dangerous.
- Slows reaction time
- Impairs judgment and situational awareness
- Increases lapses in attention and risk-taking
- Increases the potential to microsleep – dozing off for a few seconds while driving
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, certain warning signs indicate you may be sleep-deprived.
Warning signs to watch for if you’re concerned about drowsy driving include:
- frequent yawning or blinking;
- feelings of “nodding off;”
- difficulty keeping your head upright;
- trouble remembering the last few miles you’ve driven;
- missing an exit or road sign;
- following other cars too closely; or
- drifting into the other lane or hitting rumble strips.
For more information on drowsy driving, see the National Road Safety Association’s website.