While we are all aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated, few consider the problems of driving while drowsy. However, many of the characteristics of drowsy driving are similar to those of drunk driving.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 100,000 accidents a year are the result of drowsy driving. These accidents cause around 1,500 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
The number one cause of drowsy driving is inadequate sleep time. However, there are numerous other causes including sleep disorders (sleep apnea, RLS, etc.), medications or drugs, and even alcohol. Other factors include a person’s age (young people are more likely to drive while drowsy) and their work schedule.
There are several ways to help combat the problem of driving while drowsy. The most effective is, of course, getting more sleep. Other solutions could include planning breaks on long road trips or simply drinking a cup of coffee.
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