Drowsy driving is a major problem that is putting people at risk every day. Particularly now, as the days get shorter in the winter and more people are driving when it’s dark, drowsiness plays a heavy role in the number of crashes taking place.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that around 100,000 crashes happen annually as a result of drowsy drivers. Around 1,500 people end up dying in these collisions.
In 2020, a national survey found that the majority of Americans have a fear of driving at night. This, combined with 19% of people saying they have poor night vision, is risky enough. When you add in people who haven’t gotten enough sleep or who are tired from driving in the dark, there is an increased risk of serious crashes.
Drowsy driving is a known hazard
Drowsy driving is something that most people know will put them and others at risk. After all, if your eyes aren’t open or you aren’t paying attention, you are more likely to get into a crash.
In the 2020 national survey, 7.10% of the 2,000 people who responded said that they were concerned about falling asleep at the wheel. Even though that seems like a small number of people, even one person being drowsy behind the wheel is enough to cause a major collision.
Did you know that only two states directly penalize drowsy driving?
Only in New Jersey and Arkansas can a driver face punishment for drowsy driving directly. In other states, other charges, like reckless driving or driving while impaired, might be used to penalize someone who fell asleep behind the wheel.
This is all to say that drowsy driving is a real hazard, and it causes many injuries and deaths annually. As someone who is going to be on the road, it’s important to keep an eye out for drivers who aren’t staying in their lanes or who show signs of unusual driving behaviors. Report people who are driving unusually, because doing so could help prevent a crash due to drowsiness or other serious issues.
For you, get enough sleep, around seven to eight hours a night, eat well and stay hydrated. Doing these things will help you avoid being drowsy when you drive.