Most people think it won’t happen to them – falling asleep at the wheel and crashing a vehicle while driving. Unfortunately, it does happen and more often than you think.
I read a story in a local news source this morning about this very topic so I thought I would take a moment to share the story and write a reminder about Drowsy Driving. A Bryan County, OK man was just transported to the hospital with internal injuries after falling asleep at the wheel and driving his car off the road and into a creek. The accident happened at around 6:30 a.m. and did not occur at night at the end of a long day. We don’t know why this driver was so drowsy, but we do know there are a number of factors that lead up to falling asleep at the wheel. We should be aware when we think our driving might be impacted by one of them. Below are some of the most common reasons for becoming sleepy while driving.
- Lack of Sleep
- Prescription Medications and Alcohol Use
- Sleep Disorders and Other Medical Conditions
DID YOU KNOW?
In a recent survey conducted by the CDC, an estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers aged 18 years or older reported falling asleep while driving in the last 30 days.
In the same study, drivers who snore or sleep less than 6 hours per day were more likely to report falling asleep while driving when compared to drivers who sleep 7 hours a day and do not report snoring.
In 2020, the CDC reported 633 deaths and 6,000 fatal crashes across the U.S. involving a drowsy driver. Many believe these numbers are under reported.
Even if you don’t fall asleep Drowsy Driving can distract you and slow your reaction time, causing you to respond more slowly to road hazards and driving conditions. I feel sure the driver involved in the crash mentioned above did not get behind the wheel thinking he might crash his vehicle due to drowsy driving. If you feel sleepy or notice yourself nodding off, don’t keep driving thinking “you’ll be fine”. Find a safe place to stop and get out to walk around or take a nap. It’s always better to get somewhere late than not at all.