Too tired to drive?

September 5, 2014

erin_doan_agency 031514Good Neighbor Tips from Erin Doan, State Farm Insurance, Scottville. 

Talking, texting and drinking are common car-crash culprits, but there’s another lesser-known cause: fatigue. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Sleep Foundation, drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes each year that result in nearly 71,000 injuries and 1,550 fatalities.

Recognizing the dangers of drowsy driving can help improve safety on the road. Here’s what to consider:

Understand the problem. The National Sleep Foundation’s drowsydriving.org reports that:

  • 60 percent of adult drivers have driven while sleepy.
  • 42 percent of people who drive when sleepy report feeling stressed on the road. Another 32 percent lose patience, and 12 percent say they speed up.
  • 37 percent of people have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel.

Heed warning signs. If you’re yawning, blinking or nodding off — or you can’t focus — think twice about getting on the road. If you experience these symptoms while driving, pull over safely and try the following:

  • Ask another passenger to drive.
  • Take a 15–20 minute nap if you’re in a safe spot.
  • Pull over at a rest stop or gas station, and walk around to feel refreshed.

To prevent nodding off in the first place, follow these tips from State Farm®.

Seek assistance. Though it’s no replacement for a good night’s rest, current automotive technology can help pinpoint signs of drowsy driving and help prevent collisions.

  • Fatigue warning systems track your steering, blink rate duration and other behaviors and will alert you if they suspect sleepiness.
  • Lane departure warning and prevention systems monitor your vehicle’s position and react if you’re in danger of drifting into another lane.
  • Forward collision warning systems use sensors to follow vehicles in front of yours and may engage automatic braking to prevent accidents.

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