According to a recent poll by Sleep in America, 36 percent of drivers admit to nodding off or falling asleep while behind the wheel of a car. The odds of a licensed car driver over the age of 18 getting into a car accident or near-accident due to drowsiness this past year were 1 in 50, according to bookofodds.com.
Clearly, drowsy driving continues to be a major traffic safety issue. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals at least 100,000 car crashes are attributed to driver fatigue/falling asleep while driving each year resulting in roughly 1,550 deaths and 40,000 potentially serious injuries.
It's understandable to feel drained by the hectic schedule in our daily lives, but there's no excuse for nodding off while driving. That's a surefire way of getting into a major car wreck and suffering a serious injury like a broken neck, severed limbs, and/or traumatic brain injury.
Drowsy/fatigued driving usually occurs if you are on the road for hours on end without a break. This can happen if you are taking an interstate trip or maybe have a job which requires driving long hours (e.g. a commercial truck driver). You need to be vigilant of the tell-tale signs that you might be feeling fatigued or on the verge of falling to sleep while driving and are prone to dose off.
When you start to feel drowsy, pull over immediately and take a quick power nap or stop at a gas station and grab a coffee or Red Bull. The worst thing you can do is simply keep driving and drain yourself even further. Unfortunately, given the current statistics, it appears many people are not following these guidelines and are putting not only themselves, but other drivers on the road, at risk for a serious car accident.
Here's a video illustrating just how devastating a wreck can be when fall asleep behind the wheel...