Drowsy Driving Danger Signals: How Sleepy Are You? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

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Drowsy Driving Danger Signals: How Sleepy Are You?

You can't control your own sleep, ask anyone who's ever had insomnia. If you're tired you can fall asleep at any time. If you're about to fall asleep, you will experience some or all of the following:

  • You have trouble keeping your eyes open and focused
  • You nod and can't keep your head up
  • You daydream or have wandering, disconnected thoughts
  • You yawn a lot or need to rub your eyes
  • You find yourself drifting out of your lane or tailgating
  • You miss road signs or drive past your turn
  • You feel irritable, restless, and impatient
  • On the Interstate, you drift off the road and hit the rumble strips

If you have even one of these symptoms you could be sleepier than you think. Pull off the road and get some sleep. It's dangerous to drive with your eyes closed.

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AAA Foundation research identified some of the risk factors implicated in drowsy driving crashes. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you been awake for 20 hours or more?
  • Have you had six hours sleep or less in the last 24 hours?
  • Do you often drive between midnight and 6 a.m.?
  • Do you frequently feel drowsy while you're driving?
  • Do you work the night shift?
  • Do you work more than one job?

If you have any of these indicators you are at a much higher risk of having a drowsy-driving crash, even if you don't feel sleepy. Half the drivers who had drowsy-driving crashes said they felt "only slightly sleepy" or "not at all sleepy" right before the crash.

Tips to Stay Awake on the Road

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 crashes every year are due to drowsy driving. Here are some tips on staying alert on the road:

  • Try to get eight hours of sleep the night before a road trip
  • Plan to drive with a companion
  • Schedule regular stops about every 100 miles or two hours
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that may impair driving

Watch for the signs of fatigue:

  • You can't remember the last few miles driven
  • You drift between lanes
  • You're startled when you hit the rumble strip
  • You keep yawning
  • You miss traffic signs
  • You have trouble keeping your head up or your eyes open

If any of these signs are occurring, that's when you need to pull over and take a power nap.

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