According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA FTS), fatigued drivers cause more than 1 in 5 car accidents, and young adults aged 19-24 are most at risk. Data collected by the AAA FTS found that 33 percent of motorists in their early 20s admitted to driving while drowsy within the last month. Research from the National Sleep Foundation uncovered similar data, showing that drowsy driving contributes to 100,000 car accidents every year.
While the statistics show that fatigued driving is a serious safety issue, there are ways that drivers can recognize the signs of drowsiness and prevent a car accident.
What Are the Signs of Drowsy Driving?
AAA FTS lists several warning signs that signal drowsiness while driving, such as an inability to recall the last few miles traveled, lane drifting, tailgating other vehicles and having difficulty keeping eyes open. Drowsy drivers might feel ‘heavy’ and have difficulty concentrating.
The AAA FTS recommends eight hours of sleep the night before a long drive. Other measures motorists can take to reduce the risk of a car accident include carpooling, avoiding medications that cause drowsiness, staying away from foods rich in carbohydrates or fats and scheduling a break or rest stop every two hours.
Energy drinks can provide short-term relief of drowsiness, but will not be as effective for individuals who regularly consume caffeine. The best way to find relief from drowsiness while driving is to pull over somewhere safe and take a 20 to 30 minute nap.
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Did You Know? According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, motorists who sleep six to seven hours a night were two times more likely to be in an accident than motorists who slept eight or more hours.