According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1 in 5 fatal accidents on our roads involves a sleepy driver, increasing the number of drowsy drivers that are involved in fatal crashes from 16.5% to 21% based their 2014 study.
“Drowsiness is similar to alcohol in how it compromises driving ability by reducing alertness and attentiveness, delaying reaction times, and hindering decision-making skills,” explained Dr. Nathaniel Watson, president-elect of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and national spokesperson for the Healthy Sleep Project, in a press release. “Drowsy driving is deadly, but it’s also completely avoidable. Parents need to talk with their kids about drowsy driving when they discuss other threats to driver safety such as distracted and drunk driving.”
As drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 are 80% more likely to be in a drowsy driving accident, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has decided to spread awareness to directly connect with parents and the young drivers in their homes, sharing the potential dangers of drowsy driving, how to recognize the signs and preventing it all together. The result has lead to their new campaign, “Awake at the Wheel” through their ongoing participation in the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project.
Teens should get a little more than 9 hours of snooze each night for optimal health and energy throughout the day, according to the AASM. Poor sleep hurts grades, relationships, extracurricular activities and everything your children are involved in.
Not sure what the signs of drowsy driving are? Check out this list of warning signs being shared by the Awake at the Wheel campaign, as well as the neat infographic shared by the organization to quickly catch us all up to speed about drowsy driving below:
- You keep yawning or are unable to keep your eyes open.
- You catch yourself “nodding off” and have trouble keeping your head up.
- You can’t remember driving the last few miles.
- You end up too close to cars in front of you.
- You miss road signs or drive past your turn.
- You drift into the other lane of traffic, onto the “rumble strip” or the shoulder of the road.