Awake, alert, alive

  • Published
  • By Regina Coffey
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Safety
Drowsy Drivers, Wake Up!

Have you ever slipped behind the wheel, cranked up some tunes and taken off on a long road trip without sufficient sleep? If so, you know how easy it is to absentmindedly drive too far or long without a break, and suddenly find yourself wondering where the last few miles or minutes went.

We are all guilty of driving drowsy at one time or another. But did you know that drowsiness and fatigue cause more than 100,000 automobile crashes every year, kill at least 1,500 and injure 71,000 people?

Sobering Facts!
· Drowsy drivers cause 20 percent of all automobile accidents.
· The majority of crashes, due to sleepy driving, occur during the day, not at night.
· Less than one percent of all sleep-related crashes involve trucks.
· People of all age groups and experience levels drive drowsy, but 18-20 year olds, as a group, do it most.

The Face of Drowsy Driving!
How does one know when they are too tired to drive? Does it take an injury or mishap to help one realize they have gone too far and need to get some rest? No! It takes paying attention and taking action at the first signs, including:
· Yawning repeatedly
· Wandering or disconnected thoughts
· Inability to remember driving
· Tailgating or missing traffic signs
· Wandering within the lane or across the road

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving when drowsy has many of the same effects as driving while drunk or drugged; it slows the reaction time, impairs judgment, decreases awareness and increases loss of life. Anytime you're behind the wheel, please remember to take action to protect yourself and others.