An often-overlooked factor in motor vehicle crashes is drowsiness. One of the reasons that it can be so problematic is that drivers often overestimate their ability to drive when sleepy. Drivers in Tennessee need to consider the consequences of driving while tired. Approximately 4% of drivers report falling asleep behind the wheel in the last 90 days.
Drowsier than perception
In a study, researchers at the University of Iowa found that drivers who reported feeling only a little drowsy tested 75% more sleepy than they thought. This opens them up to causing motor vehicle accidents. The researchers found that drivers’ eyes were closed for more than 25% of the time over a one-minute interval when drivers reported their drowsiness level as low.
Failure to take breaks
In a simulated driving test, drivers were allowed to take rest breaks every 20 minutes. Still, drivers who reported their drowsiness level as low or moderate generally took no or only one break. Furthermore, over 75% of drivers who said they were very drowsy refused to take a break.
Drivers most at risk of drowsy driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers under 25 are the most prone to drowsy driving, and drivers are more prone to drowsy driving between midnight and 6 a.m. Furthermore, night shift workers and those working long shifts are likelier to drive while drowsy.
Preventing drowsy driving
Drowsy driving can cause car accidents. Therefore, practicing good sleep habits, including getting at least seven hours of sleep daily, is effective in preventing drowsy driving. Avoid taking medications that may make you sleepy if you plan to drive. Do not drink and drive as alcohol can make you feel sleepy.
Drivers often underestimate their drowsiness level or believe they can keep going instead of stopping to take breaks.