Avoid Slumber Road

  • Published
  • By National Sleep Foundation
According to the National Sleep Foundation's "Sleep in America" poll, 60 percent of adult drivers, about 168 million people, say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year. More than one-third, 37 percent or 103 million people, have actually fallen asleep at the wheel. In fact, of those who have nodded off, 13 percent say they have done so at least once a month. Four percent, approximately 11 million drivers, admit they have had an accident or near accident because they dozed off or were too tired to drive.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
The follow are some tips from the Sleep Foundation to help fight and prevent fatigue while driving:

  • Get at least eight hours of sleep prior to a long drive.
  • Sit up straight. Slouching down in a seat can promote sleepiness.
  • Take a break. For every two or three hours of driving, try to pull over and get at least 20 minutes of rest or even take a nap if you can.
  • Avoid heavy meals. Larger meals tend to make us feel lethargic.
  • Drink caffeine. One to two cups of coffee is actually good for you and a better alternative than carbonated beverages such as pop and energy drinks. But do not rely on it to keep you awake.
  •  Start out as early in the day as possible when you are still fresh from a good night’s sleep.
  • Avoid driving alone whenever possible.
  •  Plan ahead and keep trips to reasonable distances.
  •  Don’t let your guard down. Statistics also show that 69 percent of accidents occur within 10 miles of home.