The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported automobile accidents are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. One hundred thousand accidents!
With the proper education and tools, these accidents can be avoided! Safety 1st is here to help. We are committed to providing Orange County drivers with practical, useful, relevant information regarding safety behind the wheel.
Have you ever:
- lost track of time while driving
- had difficulty keeping your eyes open
- had difficulty focusing your eyes
- drifted out of your lane, perhaps onto the rumble strips
- yawned repeatedly
- missed traffic signs
- felt as though your head is very heavy
Get this: Being awake for 18 hours is similar to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08%, which is legally intoxicated!
Teens are at particular risk for driver fatigue, as they are more likely to stay up late, sleep too little, and drive at night.
How to Prevent Driver Fatigue
1. Get a good night’s sleep.
Teens are very active people. They need rest. Studies have shown that teens who have had less than 8 hours of sleep are 1/3 more likely to crash due to driver fatigue.
2. Plan to drive long trips with a companion.
Passengers can help you stay awake with conversation, but they can also help spot signs of fatigue in the driver and give you a break when you need it.
3. Avoid night driving when possible.
4. Avoid alcohol and medications.
If you must take a prescription medication that causes drowsiness, avoid driving.
If you’re already driving and you feel sleepy…
1. Stop and take a nap. A 15-20 minute power nap will be beneficial, especially if you don’t have far to go. Much longer than that and you’ll feel groggy. If you have far to go, just find somewhere to stay for the night.
(Plan ahead when you’re making long trips, and be prepared to stay overnight somewhere if need be!)
2. If you can’t or don’t want to nap, find a gas station, walk around for a few minutes and get a beverage.
3. Fresh air or cranking up the A/C and loud music might help temporarily, but if you’re sleepy, you’re sleepy. Take a rest.
Parents: Get your teenagers home at a reasonable time and keep them off the roads at night whenever possible. Make sure they get sufficient sleep, exercise, drink water, and eat a healthy diet.
Please stay safe, Orange County!