The Importance of Staying Awake and Alert on the Road

The Holidays are approaching fast and that could mean  long and tedious drives to reunite with family members.  Long drives can be tiresome and often lead to drowsiness.

Dozing off while driving is extremely dangerous and has been known to cause many accidents. It is hard to pin point the exact amount of accidents caused by drowsiness due to it being difficult to test for. However, “The broader community’s best estimate of drowsy-driving crashes is that 7 percent of all crashes and 16.5 percent of fatal crashes involve a drowsy driver. This estimate suggests that approximately 6,000 people died in drowsy-driving related motor vehicle crashes across the United States last year.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration these accidents  are most likely to occur between midnight and 6 am and during the late afternoon due to a change in your circadian rhythm. If possible avoid driving during these times and if not possible there are a few ways to try to combat the drowsiness to ensure you and those around you stay safe.

  • Get a recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night
  • “Always check your prescription and over-the-counter medication labels to see if drowsiness could result from their use.
  • If you start to get sleepy while you’re driving, drink one to two cups of coffee and pull over for a short 20-minute nap in a safe place, such as a lighted designated rest stop. This has been shown to increase alertness in scientific studies but only for short time periods.”