Driving Drowsy? It Causes Roadway Dangers….from the CHP

Probably all of us, at some time or another, have driven “drowsy.” That being said. lack  of sleep can have enormous ramifications if people are behind the wheel. The California Highway Patrol is ending its week-long campaign to educate drivers on the potential consequences of driving when drowsy.

“Like alcohol and drugs, sleep loss or fatigue impairs driving skills such as hand-eye coordination, reaction time, decision-making and judgement,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” A recent survey by the American Automobile Association Foundation found that 41 percent of drivers admit to having fallen asleep or nodding off while driving at some point in their lives. In the same survey more than one in four drivers admitted having driven when they were so sleepy they had a hard time keeping their eyes open within the past month.

The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,00 collisions, 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities. However, among all the major factors that cause or contribute to collisions, such as speeding, alcohol use and/or weather situations, drowsiness is the most difficult for law enforcement and other collision investigators to detect and qualify. In 2013 the CHP’s Statewide integrated Traffic Records System showed that drowsy driving led to 4,284 collisions and they caused injuries to 2,046 people which resulted in the deaths of 28 people.

“Drowsy driving is especially concerning for our young drivers,” said Commissioner Farrow. “Traffic collisions are the number one killer of teenagers in the United States, ending more young lives every day than cancer, homicide and suicide combined. Sleep-related collisions are most common in young people, who tend to stay up late, sleep too little and drive at night.”

Warning signs of drowsy driving include yawning blinking or rubbing your eyes frequently, difficulty remembering the past few miles driven, missing your exit, drifting from the lane you’re driving in, trouble keeping your head up, tail gating, hitting a rumble strip or feeling restless and irritable.

If you experience any of the warning signs, pull off to a safe location and rest or change drivers. Simply turning up the radio or opening a window are not effective ways to keep you alert.

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