The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driving drowsy causes more than 100,000 crashes, 1,550 deaths, and 71,000 injuries every year.
With Iowa’s many manufacturing, agricultural, and processing industries, long shifts are quite common and have caused drowsy driving to become a serious issue. Drowsy drivers have slow reaction times, often swerve in and out of lanes, veer off the road, and have a higher propensity to cause a crash.
In other words, drivers need to wake up to the serious problem of drowsy driving – it’s just as dangerous as drunk driving.
Indicators of drowsiness are:
*Statistics above from the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention.
55 percent of drowsy driving crashes are caused by drivers less than 25 years old.
Working the night shift increases your risk of crash due to drowsiness by nearly six times.
At least 15 percent of all heavy-truck crashes involve fatigue.
People with untreated obstructive sleep apnea have been shown to have up to a seven times increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
To avoid becoming a hazard on the road, understand the risks and warning signs of drowsy driving. Below are some things to consider before getting behind the wheel.
Although Iowa does not have specific laws pertaining to drowsy driving, drivers can be prosecuted in criminal and civil courts for the results of their driving behavior causing fatalities or serious injury.
A citation will not be given for drowsy driving, but for the erratic driving behavior associated with it such as careless driving, improper use of lanes, unsafe turn or improper use of signal.
If you're showing signs of drowsiness, pull over to a safe place right way. Then find a safe place to sleep for the day or night.
If you’re tired before starting a trip, consider delaying it until you get some rest or heading out on a different day.
Take a 10- to 20-minute nap before getting behind the wheel.
Get out of the car to move around and stretch or eat a snack.
Take turns driving when traveling with other passengers.
Buckle up. Every seat, every time.