Stay Alert on the Road; Drowsy Drivers Are Becoming a Major Threat to Road Safety

sleepy-driver-300x97If you’ve ever struggled to stay awake on an extended road trip – or even coming  home after a long and tiring day – you’re not alone.  According to a recent release by the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, it’s a growing problem.  Over 4% of drivers responding in the study indicated that they had fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in the 30 days prior.  It’s more pronounced among young drivers – about 1 in 7 admits to driving while nodding off at the wheel.  That’s a significant problem, rivaling texting and drunk driving. Despite the humorous portrayal of drowsy drivers in movies such as Planes, Trains and Automobiles National Lampoon’s Vacation, drivers who fall asleep at the wheel – or even momentarily drift off – are a major road safety threat.  In 2009 alone, over 30,000 crashes and 730 fatalities were attributed to drowsy drivers.   And this impairment affects men more often than women – nearly 3/4 of sleepy drivers in these crashes were men. If you observe a drowsy driver on the road, immediately have a passenger dial 911 to report it, or pull over at the next convenient area to make the call yourself if you’re traveling alone.  If you have a long trip planned and you are aware that at times you struggle with drowsy driving, here are some tips: Get plenty of sleep beforehand.  Schedule your travel for normal waking hours, not overnight. Stop every two hours or 100 miles for a stretch break.  A short walk in the fresh air can energize you. Don’t plan to travel all night after a long workday. Have one passenger stay awake with you – it helps to have occasional conversation plus someone to monitor your condition. If you have times of the day you routinely become sleepy (such as late afternoon), don’t drive during those periods. Drink a caffeinated beverage such a coffee or cola.  Most of all, if you feel sleepy, stop driving.  Pull over and change drivers, and if that’s not possible, check into a motel for some rest. The National Sleep Foundation has an online Drowsy Driving Prevention Resource Center with some helpful information and materials, some of it geared specifically to teen drivers – visit the site here. At SkipChips we’re committed to helping Minneapolis area drivers take care of their cars and enjoy them for a long time.  Sometimes that means making sure the drivers are taken care of, too.  While we can’t offer products to help combat drowsy driving, we do install Diamon-Fusion windshield treatment, which provides enhanced windshield vision, which can help make you a safer driver.    Contact SkipChips today. Not in the Minneapolis metro area?  Schedule SkipChips to come to you.