Most of us do not get enough sleep. Even worse, most of us do not consider how tired we might be before getting behind the wheel, but that decision can be deadly. To raise awareness of drowsy driving and the accidents it causes, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has designated November 6 to November 13 as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. Learn more about the dangers and how to stay safe here.
Is drowsy driving dangerous?
People tend to underestimate how dangerous it is to drive when sleepy. You may think you are just tired, and that it is no big deal because it is not like you are driving drunk.
But the truth is, driving when drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
A study by the Adelaide Centre for Sleep Research in Australia found that driving after being awake for 18 hours is like driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05. Twenty-four hours without sleep is likely driving with a BAC of .10. According to the New Jersey Driver Manual, drivers with a BAC of .05 are twice as likely to cause an accident; drivers with a BAC of .10 are six times more likely
How can you tell if someone is too tired to drive?
It is usually pretty easy to tell when you should not drive because you have had too much to drink. You know how many drinks are “safe” for you to drink in a certain period of time, you know if you drank on an empty stomach, and you know when you feel buzzed.
But what about when you should not drive because you are drowsy? Have you ever heard of a yardstick for this? How many times have you seen someone take the keys away from someone because they were too tired to drive? Have you ever seen anyone told to get a cab because they hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before?
Unfortunately, there is no true test for knowing whether you are too tired to drive; however, the following might help you determine if it you are ready to drive.
R=Reaction time. Is your reaction time slower than usual? Is it taking you longer to respond to things? Are your reflexes delayed? If so, it might not be safe for you to drive.
E=Eyes. If your eyes do not want to stay open, you are too drowsy to drive. If you are rubbing your eyes and it is not because of something like allergies, you should evaluate how tired you are.
A=Attention. If you are having a hard time focusing and keeping your attention, if your thoughts are wandering, or if you keep daydreaming, you might be too drowsy to drive.
D=Drifting. If you find your vehicle drifting from your lane, even once, you should consider pulling over and making other transportation arrangements before you run off the road or hit another vehicle. Do not wait for this to happen repeatedly.
Y=Yawning. Our bodies are programmed to let us know when we have not had enough sleep. Yawning is one of the signals our bodies send us when we are not getting enough sleep.
While you might be well-rested and ready to drive, not everyone is. If you or a loved one was injured by a drowsy driver, call Cordisco & Saile LLC to discuss your options to recover compensation: 215-642-2335.