Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sleeping kills

1,500 people dead, 71,000 injuries, over 100,000 car crashes, what could cause such carnage? Driving while drowsy, sleep-related crashes, is the cause according to the National Traffic Safety Administration.

A survey by Farmers Insurance demonstrates that it could be worse. Over 10% of drivers admit to falling asleep while they were driving and more than 20% have “dozed off” while driving. What is also scary, some 40% of those kept driving.

It is likely that there are even more deaths, injury and crashes due to falling asleep at the wheel, because it is not well tracked nor is it often a focus of investigation after a crash. There is no test for it and many will deny it after the crash. Alcohol makes it worse; it magnifies the drowsy effect and it may be blamed when it should be shared with the drowsiness.

The only remedy is not driving when you are tired enough to “doze off” or fall asleep. Pull off and take a nap if you need to, because the other things that are tried (turning on the radio, opening up a window, etc) do not work. (Although I did see one suggestion of changing pants with another occupant of the car, presumably while still driving, that might wake you up, but sums fraught with many other risks and problems.)

Don’t sleep while driving. It is not a good thing. Make good choices, don’t take chances.


shy-type said...

On family trips my husband and I used to switch drivers when one of us was drowsy. Problem was, no matter how drowsy I felt, once in the passenger sleep, I just couldn't fall asleep for some reason.

Anonymous said...

my husband says that his antidote for falling asleep at the wheel is road rage