Iowa Sleep Blog

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

Monday, November 03, 2014

Sleeping isn’t for the Streets! Help Us Honor Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

Did you know, 100,000 crashes in the U.S. each year are caused by fatigued drivers, and 55 percent of them are under the age of 25? November 2-9 marks Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation. If you will be traveling with your family during the upcoming holiday season, make sure you’re aware of these drowsy driving facts:

Who’s at risk:

Young drivers: In the 55 percent of drowsy drivers under the age of 25 who contribute to the 100,000 crashes a year, males account for 75 percent. Sleepiness for males could be influenced by lifestyle choices, as they are most likely to work long hours or stay up late.

Shift workers: Individuals who work overnight shifts mess with their bodies’ circadian rhythm by sleeping during times you should be awake and working when you should be sleeping. Working the night shift makes you six times more likely to experience drowsy driving.

Frequent travelers: If you find yourself on the road constantly, especially crossing multiple time zones, you may experience difficulty adjusting your body to the current time zone.

Characteristics in accidents:

Time of Day: There are two points in the day when your body becomes naturally tired. The most common time for drowsy driving occurs between midnight and 8 a.m. and between 1 and 3 p.m.

Single Driver: In 82 percent of cases, drowsy driving crashes occur to someone driving alone, because a single driver has no one to help keep them awake and alert or notice when they become sleepy.

Signs you are becoming a “drowsy driver:”

  • Difficulty focusing, frequently blinking or the sensation of heavy eyelids
  • Distracted or wondering thoughts
  • Trouble keeping your head up and eyes on the road
  • Yawning frequently
  • Drifting from your lane or hitting the shoulder or rumble strip

Studies have shown that people who are awake for more than 18 hours is equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% - very close to the 0.08%, which considered legally drunk in all 50 states. If you are driving and experience symptoms of sleepiness, pull over to a safe place and nap for 15-30 minutes. Follow your nap with a caffeinated drink and get back on the road, only if you feel alert enough to focus on driving.

Our doctors at Iowa Sleep want to help you get the best sleep possible. If you’re regularly experiencing drowsiness in the mornings on your way to work, or in the evenings coming home, give us a call. We’ll help find the root of your sleep problems in no time.