Forty-one percent of drivers admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel at some point. Eighty-five percent of drivers surveyed felt it was “completely unacceptable” for someone to drive if they are so tired they are having trouble keeping their eyes open, yet despite that belief, a new AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study shows those people still drive.
Who are the biggest culprits? Pam Moen of Triple-A Wisconsin says, “The survey showed that younger drivers — those in the 16 to 24 age group — were nearly twice as likely to be involved in a drowsy driving crash as drivers in the 40 to 59-year-old range.
And, Moen says men are more at risk than women. She says, though, your chances of being involved in a crash due to driver fatigue decrease significantly if you have someone else in the car with you. “If you’re the passenger you should be a good passenger and not be sleeping while your driver is struggling to stay awake.”
Moen says much like driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, sleepiness decreases awareness, slows reaction time, and impairs judgment, contributing to the possibility of a crash. Get plenty of sleep before hitting the road, take periodic breaks, eat snacks, sing along with the radio, and drink caffeinated beverages.
The new study comes in time for Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.