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Preventing Drowsy Driving

Did you know that the accident risk level from drowsy driving is comparable to driving drunk according to federal regulators? In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than 100,000 accidents each year. 

 

Here at Clearinghouse Navigator, we promote safe driving with our secure electronic federal database, state-of-the-art educational tools and resources, and live support via email, chat, and phone. We know the issues that many in our long haul trucking industry face and understand the consequences that can come from drug or alcohol use or even drowsy driving can be catastrophic. Today we are going to take a closer look at what this impairment is like and how you can prevent yourself from falling into this danger on the roads. 

The Danger

According to a study conducted by AAAFoundation for Traffic Safety, younger drivers age 16-24 were nearly twice as likely to be involved in a drowsy driving crash as drivers age 40-59.About 57 percent of drowsy driving crashes involved the driver drifting into other lanes or even off the road. 

 

More than one-third of drivers report hitting the roads when they have a hard time keeping their eyes open, which is proving to be deadly. 

Warning Signs 

If you are sleepy before you get in the car because of long work hours or an inability to get restful sleep, you may be in danger. Here are a few warning signs that you may need more sleep before you get behind the wheel. (Source: SleepFoundation.org

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and/or experiencing heavy eyelids
  • Difficulty keeping daydreams at bay
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips
  • Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven
  • Missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Feeling restless, irritable, or aggressive
  • Finding yourself turning on the radio or opening windows to engage

Steer Clear of Drowsy Driving

As professional drivers, we can sense when we are getting tired and need a break. Listen to those signs and act accordingly. Most drivers need to take a break every 100 miles or 2 hours. Get out of your rig, stretch, have a snack, and activate your body to wake up at regular intervals. 

 

In addition to taking breaks, make it a routine to get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road. This may mean 7-10 hours for many people. Creating a routine before bed can help you fall asleep fast and stay asleep longer. 

 

Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness as a side-effect. When possible, drive during your natural waking hours rather than during the overnight hours when you are usually asleep. Don’t rush yourself to your destination but rather realize that getting there safely is more important than getting there before the deadline.

 

For more information about the national database and how you can stay safe on the road visit our website and check out our educational tools and resources.