Don’t Be A Drowsy Driver

direct cheap insuranceBelieve it or not, drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 auto accidents every year. When you think about how important sleep is, it is usually you’re mental and physical health that comes to mind. The fact is, getting behind the wheel without having had a healthy amount of sleep puts you and everyone else on the road in very real physical danger. Research from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that people who only get four to five hours of sleep multiply their risk of crashing by four. That is the same risk rate as driving with over the legal limit of alcohol in your system. Somehow, drowsy driving and drunk driving don’t seem to be equal in most people’s minds, as 1 in 3 admitted to driving while drowsy. In addition, 1 in 5 fatal crashes in the U.S. have involved drowsy driving. Even if no one gets injured, an accident caused by you not getting enough sleep will come back to haunt you, through higher car insurance premiums. However, just as with drunk driving, there are risks that can be identified, and precautions that can be take. Study up, and make sure you are being the most responsible driver you can be. This will help you find and keep cheap car insurance rates.

Who Is Most At Risk For Drowsy Driving?

  • Young males are the demographic that has been found to most often fall asleep behind the wheel. It could be because of lifestyle or behavior choices such as staying up too late, or working long hours, or drinking alcohol. Studies have also shown that young males are more likely to engage in high-risk behavior that can lead to sleep deprivation.
  • Those who work night shifts or rotating shifts on their jobs are at risk because their normal sleep rhythm is always being disrupted. They are forced to work at night when their body is telling them to sleep, and to sleep during the day when their body wants to be awake. Some people can adjust with time and create a new pattern, but it is still risky.
  • Travelers who cross time zones often wind up with sleep schedules that are hopelessly off track once they reach their destination. Pilots and other business travelers need to be extra cautions about spending any time behind the wheel if they are suffering from lack of sleep.
  • People who have untreated sleep disorders are at very high risk for drowsy driving. Common sleep disorders include insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, and narcolepsy. Over twelve million people in the United States have obstructive sleep apnea that studies have shown to directly increase the rate of drowsy driving related crashes.

What Are The Signs Of Drowsy Driving

  • Frequent yawning
  • Being unable to keep your eyes open
  • Wandering thoughts that take your focus off the road
  • Being impatient or road rage
  • Tailgating
  • Missing your turn off or road signs
  • Nodding off
  • Drifting into another lane or off onto the shoulder

How To Prevent Drowsy Driving

  • The first one should be fairly obvious, and that is to make sure you get plenty of sleep. You know yourself better than anyone else, so make it a priority to take care of you. If getting exercise, or meditation, or taking a bath is what helps you sleep, then make sure it gets done. Don’t put it off for work, or to take care of someone else first.
  • Caffeine can help give you a short-term burst of energy to get you through, but it does take some time to kick in. If you can, take a quick cat-nap right after drinking the caffeine, then it has time to get into your system, and you have the added benefit of the short rest time.
  • Alerting devices like the “rumble strip” on the side of the road are very effective at giving sleepy drivers that kick they need to wake up. The road boarder has deep groves in it that vibrate when the car drifts on to it, making a loud noise. In addition, some auto makers are working on devices that would go inside the car and sound off an alarm if the driver was showing signs of drowsiness. It is still in testing mode however, and does not prevent sleepy drivers from getting behind the wheel in the first place.

Everyone who drives should learn as much about drowsy driving as they do about drunk driving. The results of both are catastrophic and totally preventable. Being a responsible driver means following the law, having car insurance, and doing everything you can to prevent accidents. Learn to identify the signs of drowsy driving, and about good sleep habits. Your body, and everyone else on the road, will thank you.

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