One in four motorists reported being so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open while driving in the past month, according to recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study shows that motorists aged 19 to 24 were most likely to report driving dangerously drowsy at 33 percent while the oldest drivers ages 75 and above and the youngest (ages 16 to 18) were the least likely to report having done so in the previous month at 22 percent each. According to the study, 95 percent of drivers believe it is somewhat or completely unacceptable to drive when they are so tired that it is difficult to keep their eyes open.
Symptoms of Drowsy Driving
A 2010 study conducted by the AAA Foundation showed that 17 percent of fatal crashes, 13 percent of crashes resulting in hospitalization and 7 percent of all crashes requiring a tow, involve a drowsy driver. Here are some warning signs by which drivers can tell that they are sleepy or drowsy:
- The inability to recall the last few miles traveled.
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open.
- Feeling that your eyelids or head are very heavy.
- Drifting out of your driving lane or driving on the rumble strips.
- Repeatedly yawning.
- Missing traffic signs or running red lights.
Tips to Stay Awake
With the Thanksgiving holiday just around the corner, it is important to remember the following tips to ensure that you are not drowsy while driving:
- Don’t start your driving after a heavy meal.
- Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles.
- Travel with an alert passenger and take turns while driving.
- Avoid foods or medications that can cause drowsiness.
- If you are chronically fatigued or have trouble getting rested, consult a sleep specialist.
- Caffeine can help you stay alert and awake temporarily. But don’t count on caffeinated beverages to keep you awake
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!