By Nene Clayton
Thanksgiving is right around the corner (10 days away but who’s counting lol) so that means while we are pilling our plates with turkey and gravy our favorite stores are preparing for one of the biggest nights in shopping… Black Friday. I must admit that I am an avid Black Friday frequenter and while I enjoy the amazing sales I have noticed an increase in potential dangers on the road… Drowsy Driving. With our tummies being full of home cooked foods and stores opening their doors at the crack of dawn it is important that we understand the dangers of drowsy driving.
“Drowsy driving is not just falling asleep at the wheel – it is a profound impairment that mimics alcohol-impaired driving in many ways. Drowsiness leads to slower reaction times, and impaired attention, mental processing, sleep debt across multiple nights, or from only one night of not sleeping” (NHTSA,2016).
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving crashes can happen any time, but most consistently occur late at night, in the early pre-dawn hours, or in the mid-day” (2016). Furthermore, age also plays a significant factor. Research conducted in 2012 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that crash-involved drivers ages 16-24 were nearly twice as likely to be drowsy at the time of their crash.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed some ways that we can learn how to prevent drowsy driving:
- Get enough sleep
- Develop good sleeping habits
- Don’t drink alcohol or take medications
- Talk to your doctor about treatment options if you have a sleep disorder or symptoms such as snoring
- If you find yourself feeling drowsy pull over to a safe place and take a 15-20-minute nap or change drivers.
While team no sleep might be popular while studying for final exams or while watching the World Series, it can be fatal for not only yourself but your passengers as well. Make sure to be safe this holiday season and get enough sleep.
Ms. Clayton is a senior at Texas State University working towards getting her Bachelors of Health and Wellness Promotion. The Youth Transportation Safety Program is proud to have Nene on our team as a student worker.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015, November 05). CDC Features. Retrieved October 23, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/features/dsdrowsydriving/index.html
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, A. (2017, March 02). Drowsy Driving. Retrieved October 25, 2017, from https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drowsy-driving