It never ends well for drivers who fall asleep behind the wheel. However, there is also a growing awareness of the dangers of driving while drowsy, which is a ticketable offense. This trend is confirmed by the American Automobile Association, which found that one-third of all drivers admitted that they operated a vehicle in the last month while so tired they were having difficulty keeping their eyes open. This is confirmed by a study in Consumer Reports which found that 27 percent of more than 4,000 participants in the study said they had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. It also found that 68 percent struggled with sleep at least once a week.
As dangerous as alcohol
Experts have now found that drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. For example, drivers who have been awake for 24 hours are impaired to the same point if their blood alcohol content is .10, which is obviously over the legal limit. Truckers are rarely cited for drowsy driving, but the dangers are substantial. Common signs that the driver is in danger include:
- Missing road signs or exits
- Drifting from your lane
- Droopy eyelids
- No memory of the previous few minutes of driving
Sleep aids also a danger
Lack of sleep is not the only issue. Drowsy driving can also be related to taking sleep aids. A survey found that 20 percent of drivers who use sleep aids get back behind the wheel before the designated seven or eight hours the user is advised to set aside. This means that drivers are both drowsy and under the influence.
A danger to yourself and others
Drivers who regularly experience restless sleep or poor sleeping habits are a risk to themselves and others. While these findings include all types of drivers, truckers with their massive size and payload should get off the road at the next exit or rest stop. Unfortunately, those that do not put themselves, their livelihood and others on the road in danger.