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Are you guilty of being a drowsy driver?

For most of us, the impact of a poor night’s sleep revolves around the loss or gain of an hours’ worth of sleep—at least that’s the only thing we think about. But research shows something else, that may surprise you.

Lack of sleep can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving,  if you’re behind the wheel. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s poll, 60 percent of us are guilty of drowsy driving.

Why does drowsy driving matter?

  • The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates that drowsy driving is a factor in over 16 percent of deadly crashes, 12.5 percent of crashes resulting in hospitalization and seven percent crashes that result in towed vehicles.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration drowsy driving results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than 100,000 accidents each year.

What can be done to reduce accidents caused by drowsy driving?

  1. Know when to stop and rest:
    • Heavy eyelids and difficulty focusing
    • Wandering and/or disconnected thoughts
    • Drifting from your lane or hitting the shoulder rumble strips
    • Trouble remembering the last couple of miles you’ve driven
  2. Get seven to eight hours of rest at night.
    • Research shows that those who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a car crash than people who sleep eight hours a night.
  3. Don’t overlook trouble sleeping. If you’re routinely having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about what you’re experiencing.
  4. Drive with someone else in the car especially for long drives.
  5. Coffee can help for short bursts, but a 20-minute power nap is better.

Whether you’re adjusting to daylight savings or just not feeling well rested, make sure you are driving safely and avoiding drowsy drivers.

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