According to a recent National Sleep Foundation poll, nearly 30 percent of American drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel, and more than half revealed they have driven while drowsy. Close to 100,000 crashes a year and 1500 deaths are attributed to drowsy driving. Bottom line, drowsy driving is impaired driving.
National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is November 7-13, and here are eight warning signs that you are driving drowsy and should pull over to rest:
1. Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
2. Finding it hard to focus on the road, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
3. Starting to daydream or have disconnected thoughts
4. Having trouble remembering the last few miles driven
5. Missing an exit or ignoring traffic signs
6. Drifting from your lane, tailgating or hitting a shoulder rumble
7. Feeling restless or irritable
8. Finding it hard to keep your head up or nodding off
Some groups of drivers are at greater risk for drowsy driving crashes, and a few of these groups are specifically work-related and should be taken into account when thinking about workplace safety:
• Shift workers (working night shift can increase your risk of drowsy driving by nearly six times)
• People who work long hours consistently
• Commercial drivers, especially long-haul drivers (15%+ of all heavy truck crashes are due to drowsy driving)
• Business travelers (long hours driving or possible jet lag)
Drowsy driving can slow down your reaction time, decrease awareness, impair judgment and definitely increase your risk of crashing.