Bambillo NZ

Drowsy driving: the facts you need to know

Driving when sleep deprived can be as dangerous as driving drunk. Many people lose the ability to predict when they will fall asleep if they are very tired, with potentially deadly consequences for themselves and other road users.

Causes
Failure to prioritise sleep, leading to sleep deprivation. Failure to recognise the danger of this, and driving.
Solutions
• Recognising the crucial importance of sleep in mental alertness and concentration.
• Not driving when tired.
• Drive at times when you are usually awake.
• Drink caffeine.
• A light snack can help you wake up
• Being aware of danger signs, including heavy eyelids, yawning, drifting into another lane, not remembering the last few kilometres driven, or struggling to focus.
• If you notice any of these symptoms, don’t just wind down the window. Pull over and take a 20-minute nap, or if you can, change drivers.
Facts
• A study in Australia showed that cognitive impairment after approximately 18 hours awake is approximately equivalent to a person with a blood alcohol content of 0.05%. 0.08% is considered legally drunk.
• After 24 hours awake, it is closer to 0.10%
• In 2015, 2.3 per cent (824) of the road deaths in the US reportedly involved drowsy driving
• Drowsy driving is thought to be a highly under reported cause of many car accidents
• Shift workers, commercial drivers, people taking sedative medications, those with undiagnosed or untreated sleep disorders are at greater risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
• Adults aged 18 – 29 are most likely to drive drowsy
• Men are more likely than women to drive drowsy, and to fall asleep at the wheel.
• Even if you haven’t been drinking, driving while tired can slow your reaction times and thinking enough to cause an accident

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