Did you know that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving?! Drowsy driving might not seem like a big deal at first, but studies have shown that it’s a much bigger problem than you might think. According to the CDC 1 in 25 adult drivers admit to having fallen asleep behind the wheel in the previous 30 days.
According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013 alone. These numbers are even underestimated and up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by inattentive driving from sleep deprived individuals.
According to the AAA Foundation, drowsy drivers were involved in an estimated 21% of fatal automobile crashes in 2014. That crash risk rate went up from the estimated 16.5% from the previous study in 2010. With crash rates like that, how can you argue that risk factors like sleepiness, untreated sleep deprivation, and fatigue aren’t risky driving behaviors?
Teen driver: “I’m so happy the team won tonight! And I gave it everything I had, too! Feels awesome. Now there’s just this two-hour drive home before I can get some sleep. So pumped for this date with my bed. Yes.
I wish there were somewhere I could grab an espresso or a Redbull…I’m so tired I can’t see straight … can’t stop yawning … here, let’s open the window a bit, turn up the radio, do something to keep myself focused…gotta get myself home … just another half hour to go … whoops, that was a bit sketchy … I veered onto the rumble strip …
The last thing I remember was the sound of my car scraping a wall on the freeway at 65 mph…I was real lucky…it could’ve been another car coming head on, or a tree or telephone pole. I don’t even remember driving the last few miles!”
Yep. He was lucky. He lived. Like Ace says, drowsy driving is dangerous driving. Your reaction time is much slower, similar to drinking alcohol. Imagine if this story ended with a head-on collision instead of a jolt on the shoulder rumble strips and a close-call with a freeway wall.
You might be thinking “Okay okay Ace, isn’t it just truck drivers and late shift workers that have to worry about sleepiness-related accidents?” Not at all! Over 55 percent of fatigue-related crashes are not caused by long-distance truck drivers, but by MALES UNDER THE AGE OF 25. Yes, my young Acelet, that includes YOU!
The best rule of thumb to prevent drowsy driving is to not get behind the wheel at all when you’re tired. Or if you must, be sure you take along some very chatty friends. Better yet: let ‘em help you drive. Sleep loss can be dangerous behind the wheel- take a nap instead. Everyone likes naps.
Be awesome and Aceable by avoiding driving crashes like this little guy.