Wake up! Staying alert at the wheel

The dangers of driving while drowsy are grossly underestimated. As several students are struggling to find the time to study for their midterms while they still attend classes and their part time jobs, sleep is often the first thing neglected.

While drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to drive while drowsy, they aren’t the only offenders. Driving while drowsy possesses several dangers most severe being accidents that result in serious injuries or even fatalities.

During a recent study conducted by AAA Foundation 1 in 7 young adults admitted to nodding off at least once while driving in the past year and 1 in 10 admitted to falling asleep during the same period. Driving while drowsy reduces judgment and reaction times and can cause vision impairment. Often one is unable to tell how tired they are and if they will actually fall asleep behind the wheel. Some warning signs that one should not proceed with driving may include:

  • Heavy eyes
  • Increase blinking
  • Decrease in focus/increase in daydreaming, there is a lapse in your memory cannot remember driving for a few minutes or kms
  • Swerving
  • Missing exits and or traffic signs
  • Repeated yawning
  • Irritable, restless or increase aggression
  • Head nodding

Some precautions to help prevent drowsiness:

  • Never pull all nighters to study; a lack of sleep will not benefit you in any way
  • Get enough rest night prior to a long drive
  • Try to have a driving buddy with you to share the drive if going on a long drive
  • Try not to drive during the night or when you would normally be sleeping
  • Do not rush
  • Do not consume alcohol or medications that could make you drowsy this includes the night prior
  • Take a break every 2 hours when travelling a far distance
  • Caffeine can be used to help short term
  • Pull over and take a nap in a safe area for 15-20mins if you are tired
  • Education on dangers of driving while drowsy

Video: Drunk Driving Injuries

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