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Drowsy Driving Is A Bigger Problem Than Previously Believed
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Drowsy Driving is A Bigger Problem Than Previously Believed

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a newly completed study on drowsy or sleep deprived driving and the results are alarming. According to one of the largest studies of its kind, four percent of the people surveyed (one in twenty four adults) admitted that they had fallen asleep or dozed off while driving in the previous month. Experts are concerned, however, that the actual number is much higher because drowsy drivers may not be aware that they are falling asleep at all. Even as little as a second could spell disaster especially on a busy interstate or a narrow, country road.

That single second's danger is highlighted when you look at the numbers. Traveling at a speed of sixty miles per hour your car is propelled forward at about 288 feet during that second- roughly the length of two typical school buses. That is more than enough space to have a serious accident and most people nod off for much longer than a single second at a time.The longer that you nod off, the more likely you are to actually reach deep sleep which could keep you under for much longer.

According to the study which was released at the end of 2012, the groups that were most likely to report having dozed behind the wheel in the previous month where young men, ages 25-34, people of all ages who logged six hours or less of sleep each night and in a surprise finding, people from the state of Texas. The survey echoed the findings of several previous but much smaller studies and used information from nearly 150,000 people reached via telephone covering nearly twenty states.

Lead author of the newly released paper, Anne Wheaton said that sleep deprived driving should be considered just as dangerous as drunk or drug impaired driving and is probably happening a lot more often than people realize. Even missing a few hours of sleep can put you at risk of impaired driving behaviors by making it harder to focus and causing reaction times to be greatly slowed.

The CDC did not explain why there seemed to be a higher concentration of drowsy drivers in Texas than in any other state, however there are many things that affect sleep quality which in turn would affect driving abilities the following day. Anyone who even suspects that they are at risk for dozing off while driving are strongly urged to stop and get some rest if possible or to try to increase mental alertness if they cannot.


Street Talk

I know that I have missed the last 10 miles somewhere along the way. I am probably one of those that have driven while drowsy and didn't realize it. I will always pull over and nap if I feel the least bit drowsy, but I wonder about highway hypnosis. This could be why I 'wake up' and don't remember the last few miles... Great article, Amy

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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