According to a recent article published by the Consumer Reports website, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report indicating that people are falling asleep behind the wheel often and that the number of drowsy drivers has been increasing in the past years.
The study shows that about 4.2 percent of 147,076 drivers who participated in this study admit to have fallen asleep while behind the wheel at least one time during the last 30 days. The study also indicates that out of people in 19 states who participated in the research, most drivers who admitted to have fallen asleep at the wheel happened to be men. Researchers say that men are more likely to report they have driven while drowsy than women. Motorists who claimed to get six hours of sleep a night or less were also more likely to report falling asleep while driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has indicated that 2.5 percent of all fatal accidents reported in the country have been linked to drowsy drivers. Data shows that in 2009, 730 people were killed in accidents linked to drowsy driving while 30,000 accidents resulting in injuries were also linked to drowsy driving. Drivers who happen to fall asleep behind the wheel may feel certain difficulty in keeping their eyes open and their heads up. When motorists fall asleep briefly behind the wheel, they may drift out of their lanes and even forget the last few miles they drove. Because of the inattention, drivers could miss exits or traffic signs and accidents can occur as a result.
According to the Consumer Reports article, automakers have been working on designing lane-departure warnings to some vehicles in order to create a device that will alert the driver if they happen to drift out of their lane. Articles indicate that Volvo already has developed a driver-alert system that uses cameras and other devices that work as sensors to monitor the vehicle and its movements in order to assess whether the vehicle is being handled and operated in a proper manner. Other automakers like Mercedes-Benz have also developed similar systems, which monitors how the vehicle is being driven and helps by intervening in case there’s a risk.
Safety advocates alert drivers that in spite of the advanced technology, leaving it all to automakers is not the answer to everything. Drivers should keep in mind that sleeping seven hours every night is important to maintain you awake and alert while behind the wheel. Drowsy driving could be deadly. If you feel you’re too tired or sleepy to continue, pull over to a safe rest area and take a nap. Traveling during daylight can also help you to stay awake and alert at all times.
On long trips, drivers are asked to take a break at least every two hours. Avoiding to intake medications that can cause drowsiness should also be on your mind if you’re about to drive.
For the full article and more tips on how to avoid drowsy driving, click here.