411 Pain – Drowsy Driving

Posted on : January 18, 2013

411 Pain – Drowsy Driving

 You can’t be alert behind the wheel if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.  According to the Center for Disease Control someone who has been awake for 18 hours has the cognitive impairment of someone with a blood alcohol content of 0.05%   411 Pain has found that the American Automobile Association estimates 1 in 8 vehicle crashes and 1 in 6 deadly traffic accidents can be attributed to drowsy driving.

Drivers who are tired behind the wheel not only have slow reaction times and when behind the wheel, split second decisions are a matter of life and death.  Signs of sleepiness can include frequent blinking or yawning, daydreaming or losing focus, missing your exit, and or drifting into other lanes.  There is also the possibility sleep deprived motorists can experience micro-sleep, a form of sleeping which can last for a few seconds or for as long as half a minute.  The driver appears to be alert, eyes opened, faced front, but they are actually in an unaware state.  

There is no substitute for sleep. Caffeine may give you a jolt for a short time, rolling down the window, or playing music may help briefly, but are not effective solutions.  If you feel drowsy while driving get off the road immediately. If you can, find a safe place and take a cat nap ( 15 to 20 minutes). Drive with a friend or passenger who can monitor you for signs of fatigue and even take the wheel for part of the ride.
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The National Sleep Foundation finds more than all drowsy driving crashes involve drivers who are 25 years old or younger.   It’s not just a matter of irresponsibility but seemingly a way of life.  Doctors say adolescents need 9 hours of sleep to function, but with school and other extracurricular activities carving out that crucial sleep time in a 24 hour day is truly a challenge.  Sadly, more often than not, sleep is what is sacrificed.   Truckers and shift workers scheduled to be on the job during odd hours are also highly likely to drive drowsy.

Drowsy driving is so dangerous, car makers are developing technology to alert drivers they may be nodding off.  411 Pain has discovered that the Ford 2013 Fusion offers a Lane-Keeping System.  If the vehicle unintentionally drifts from its lane, the Lane-Keeping alert warns the driver with steering wheel vibrations. The Lane-Keeping aid actively applies steering torque to alert the driver to direct the vehicle back into the proper lane.

Technology and Caffeine are helpful aids but the safest way to arrive alive is by getting a good night’s sleep before you get behind the wheel.  If you can’t, let someone else do the driving.

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