HOW DANGEROUS IS DRIVER FATIGUE?
You’ve been out late, you haven’t been drinking, but you’re definitely tired. Should you be getting behind the wheel? According to conservative estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 100,000 police-reported accidents each year—resulting in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses—are directly caused by driver fatigue.
Approximately 1 in 25 adult drivers have reported falling asleep behind the wheel in the last 30 days. Clearly, falling asleep at the wheel is very dangerous, but sleepiness itself affects your ability to drive safely even if you don’t fall asleep. Sleepy drivers are less able to pay attention, have longer reaction times if they have to brake suddenly or steer clear of obstacles, and are less able to make good decisions.
You’re at a higher risk for an accident caused by fatigue if you:
- Regularly don’t get enough sleep
- Are a commercial driver who operates big rigs
- Work long shifts, or the night shift
- Have a sleep disorder
- Take medications that make you sleepy
What are the warning signs that you’re too drowsy to drive? Take a break from driving immediately if you’re:
- Yawning and blinking frequently or struggling to keep your eyes open
- Having difficulty remembering the last few miles you’ve driven
- Drifting from your lane
If you are in an accident, come to the nearest Accident and Injury where we’ll help you recover and get back on the road. And remember, next time you’re wondering if you’re too tired to drive, you are! Take a breather or let someone else do the driving. You’ll be glad you did.