Driving While Drowsy is Driving While Impaired!
Driving while drowsy, or drowsy driving, is becoming a major issue on our roadways.
How prevalent is drowsy driving?
Well, according to a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, about 50% of all adult drivers in the US admit to regularly driving while feeling drowsy. Of those, 20% actually admitted falling asleep at the wheel at least once in the past year. And a staggering 40% stating that they have fell asleep while driving at some point in their driving history!
These numbers are very scary to hear. I know we have 50,000 cars that go by our office every day, and it makes me wonder how many of them are driving drowsy or worse, asleep at the wheel.
The effects of driving while drowsy can be equated to driving under the influence of alcohol.
- Reaction times, awareness and attention spans all get worse as you become drowsier.
- Studies show that going more than 20 hours with no sleep is equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol content of .08%, which is the legal limit for driving under the influence.
- The odds of getting into a car crash while fatigued increases three fold.
You may not even know that you are fatigued when you get behind the wheel. That is because the signs of fatigue are very hard to identify. If you lose focus or even fall into what is called a micro sleep (a short involuntary period of inattention) for just 3-5 seconds at highway speeds, you would travel the length of a football field. A lot of bad things can happen in the 100 yards of inattentiveness.
Here are some sunning statistics regarding accidents involving drowsy driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- 100,000 police reported accidents involved driving drowsy
- 71,000 injuries resulted from these accidents
- 1,550 fatalities resulted from these accidents
- $109 billion annually for bodily injury and death costs were (not including property damage costs)
According to an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, the numbers are triple of the above
- 328,000 accidents involve drowsy driving
- 109,000 injuries resulted from these accidents
- 6,400 fatalities resulted from these accidents
Not sure if you are too tired to drive?
Here are some signs of drowsy driving from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
- Frequent yawning or difficulty keeping your eyes open
- “Nodding off” or having trouble keeping your head up
- Inability to remember driving the last few miles
- Missing road signs or turns
- Difficulty maintaining your speed
- Drifting out of your lane
One last startling statistic. 50% or more of all drowsy driving accidents are caused by drivers under the age of 25. So remember, just because you are young, it does not make you invincible to your body needing proper rest.
Driving while drowsy can be prevented with proper rest. If you do not have your proper rest, find someone to drive for you. This can be a friend, family member, an Uber or Lyft driver, or public transportation.
Do what you can to not become part of these drowsy driving statistics.
We can help. Simply fill out the quote form below or call us at 410-647-1111 for a comprehensive review of your insurance plan.