Drowsy driving is a serious risk on American roads. Drivers in California should know that driving without adequate rest increases the risk of a collision and injury. There are plenty of warning signs for drowsy driving, and knowing more about them can make it possible to prevent thousands of accidents annually.
Who is most at risk?
Some drivers are more likely to be driving while drowsy than others. Lifestyle can be a big issue, such as the type of work a driver does. For example, truckers are under pressure to make deliveries on schedule. This means they may be more willing to take unnecessary risks on the road. Drowsy driving is involved in about 15% of large truck crashes.
Age can also be a factor in motor vehicle accidents caused by drowsy driving. Young men under age 25 are more likely than any other demographic to have issues with drowsy driving. Part of this is about grueling school and work schedules. Another issue is participating in activities and social events that keep people up late at night.
It’s important for drivers to check in with themselves before getting behind the wheel. Did you get at least six hours of sleep? If not, you’re more at risk. What about the time of day? Would you normally be sleeping? What about medications? Are you taking an antihistamine, a cough syrup or a psychiatric medication? All of these can affect your wakefulness.
If you do need to drive a long distance, plan to take plenty of breaks. Use strategies to help yourself stay focused and awake. Most importantly, be ready to pull over and rest if you need to. You risk hurting yourself or someone else if you’re driving while sleep deprived.