A recent study discovered that instead of pulling over and taking a nap, drivers engage in ineffective tactics to avoid the effects of drowsy driving.
When drivers in Oklahoma start to feel sleepy as they travel down the road, they endanger the lives of others. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately two percent of injury crashes and 2.5 percent of fatal car accidents can be attributed to drowsy driving. However, it is suspected that these figures are understated and between 5,000 and 6,000 fatal collisions each year are caused by fatigued drivers.
How sleepiness affects drivers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that even if a driver does not completely fall asleep, their driving can still be affected by drowsiness. Sleepiness impacts drivers in the following ways:
- Harms their ability to make decisions as they operate their vehicle.
- Makes them less attentive to what is going on around them.
- Slows their reaction times during common driving situations.
To combat these effects, a new survey conducted by the automotive marketing company DMEautomotive discovered that many drivers use ineffective strategies. Of the nearly 2,000 drivers who were surveyed, in order to stay awake, 35 percent reported that they would pull over and stretch, 42 percent said that they would open their sunroof or open up a window, 25 percent said that they would turn up the air conditioning in their vehicle and 33 percent reported that they would listen to loud music.
Other tactics drivers reported using to stay awake included splashing water on their face or on their neck, listening to talk radio, singing to themselves, eating and slapping themselves. Only about 23 percent of those who participated said that they would pull their vehicle over to the side of the road and take a nap to combat the effects of drowsy driving.
The best way to avoid drowsy driving
The National Sleep Foundation states that the best way for drivers to ensure that they are safe to drive is for them to get between seven and eight hours of sleep the night before operating a vehicle. If drivers find themselves feeling drowsy, drinking caffeine can also improve alertness, but its effects are only temporary. However, drivers who choose this method should keep in mind that it can take up to 30 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream, states USA Today.
Despite the dangers of drowsy driving, many drivers still refrain from pulling over and taking a nap and instead engage in ineffective tactics like opening up their car's windows, listening to loud music or turning on their vehicle's air conditioner. If you were injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver, consult with an attorney who can ensure your legal rights are protected.