The second week of November is National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. It’s an excellent time to discuss a form of negligent driving that does not get as much media attention as driving drunk or distracted by a cellphone but can be just as dangerous.
We all deal with late nights or insomnia from time to time. But too many people in Pennsylvania are chronically sleep-deprived. They think they can get away without enough sleep, but once they get behind the wheel, they become a safety hazard to themselves and everyone else on the road.
Here are five facts about drowsy driving (thanks to the National Sleep Foundation) that you might not know.
- Sleepy drivers cause an estimated 100,000 car accidents every year in the U.S., leading to around 71,000 injuries and $12.5 million in damages.
- Lack of sleep can impair a person’s ability to drive safely just like drugs and alcohol do.
- A few hours’ sleep might not be enough to make you alert and rested enough to drive. The NSF states that someone who only slept three to five hours the night before is not fit to operate a motor vehicle.
- The people most likely to drive while drowsy are night shift workers and young drivers aged 16-25.
Most of us do our best to avoid a driver who is acting strangely (drifting in and out of their lane, stopping short, not signaling lane changes) and might be dozing off. But despite your best efforts, you could still get caught in the path of a drowsy or sleeping driver. You or a loved one could get seriously injured because someone else chose not to get enough sleep before driving.