In 2018, 775 of fatalities in the US involved a drowsy driver. Georgia is the fifth most dangerous state in terms of drowsy driving. Awareness of the seriousness of the issue could help save lives.
Similar to drunk driving
Fatigue has nearly the same effect on your driving ability as alcohol does. Going 18 hours without sleep affects your body in a similar way as a blood alcohol content of 0.05. The longer you have gone without sleep, the worse it is. People who have gone 24 hours without sleep suffer from effects similar to a blood alcohol content of 0.1.
Drowsy driving causes a delayed reaction time, poor judgment, impaired cognition and an inability to focus. You need the ability to react fast to changing road conditions. Slow reaction times and lack of alertness could cause car accidents. The operation of your brain slows down when it doesn’t get enough sleep.
If you have ever found yourself struggling to stay awake while driving, then you weren’t giving enough focus to the road because your brain had to expend energy on trying to stay awake.
Shift and night workers
Shift and night workers are at higher risk of drowsy driving. Those who have a sleep disorder are 300% more likely to get into a car accident. Working unusual, inconsistent hours puts you at greater risk of developing a sleep disorder as well.
Tips for staying alert at the wheel
If you are too tired to drive, consider taking a 10-minute nap. This could make a huge difference in how alert you are so that you could get to your destination safely. Opening the window to let fresh air hit your face may help you stay alert. Using the air conditioning in your car could have the same effect.
Drowsy driving is an issue that affects most people at some point. You could reduce how often it occurs by getting enough sleep each night and taking a 10-minute nap if you need to before driving.