Our Family Supports the National Sleep Foundation and it's efforts
to make everyone aware that Drowsy Driving Kills. We lost our Nicole to a terrible car accident and we want to help
spread the word so that others will not have to feel the pain we have gone through in the aftermath of Nicole's passing,
and another young life wil not be cut short. Please take a moment to educate yourself and learn how to protect you and
your loved ones when behind the wheel. We can't bring Nicole back but together we can prevent others from dying.
Did You Know?
100,00 motor vehicle accidents each year
are by fatigued drivers.
55% of drowsy driving crashes are caused by drivers less than 25 years old.
Being awake for 18 hours is
equal to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% which is legally drunk and leaves you at risk for a crash.
How can you tell if you are "driving
Your eyelids droop and your head starts to nod. Yawning becomes almost constant and your vision seems blurry.
You blink hard, focus your eyes and suddenly realize that you’ve veered onto the shoulder or into oncoming traffic for
a moment and quickly straighten the wheel. This time you were lucky; next time you could become the latest victim of the tragedy
of drowsy driving.
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep in
America poll, 60% of Americans have driven while feeling sleepy and 37% admit to actually having fallen asleep at the wheel
in the past year. However, many people cannot tell if or when they are about to fall asleep. And if sleepiness comes on while
driving, many say to themselves, “I can handle this, I’ll be fine.” Yet they’re putting themselves
and others in danger. What they really need is a nap or a good night’s sleep.
Here are some signs that should tell a driver to stop and rest:
* Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
* Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts
Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
* Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
Trouble keeping your head up
* Drifting from your lane,
tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
restless and irritable
Are You at Risk?
drive, consider whether you are:
Sleep-deprived or fatigued (6 hours
of sleep or less triples your risk)
Suffering from sleep loss (insomnia),
poor quality sleep, or a sleep debt
Driving long distances without
proper rest breaks
Driving through the night, mid-afternoon or when
you would normally be asleep
Taking sedating medications (antidepressants,
cold tablets, antihistamines)
Working more than 60 hours a week (increases
your risk by 40%)
Working more than one job and your main job involves
Drinking even small amounts of alcohol
Driving alone or on a long, rural, dark or boring road
Facts and Stats
According to the National
Sleep Foundation's 2005 Sleep in America poll, 60% of adult drivers – about 168 million people –
say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third, (37% or 103 million people),
have actually fallen asleep at the wheel! In fact, of those who have nodded off, 13% say they have done so at least once a
month. Four percent – approximately eleven million drivers – admit they have had an accident or near accident
because they dozed off or were too tired to drive.
The National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue
each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures
may be the tip of the iceberg, since currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.
- There is no test to determine sleepiness as there is for intoxication, i.e. a "Breathalyzer".
- State reporting practices are inconsistent. There is little or no police training
in identifying drowsiness as a crash factor. Every state currently addresses fatigue and/or sleepiness in some way in their
crash report forms. However, the codes are inconsistent and two states (Missouri and Wisconsin) do not have specific codes
for fatigue and/or fell asleep.
- Self-reporting is unreliable.
- Drowsiness/fatigue may play a role in crashes attributed to other causes such as alcohol. About one
million such crashes annually are thought to be produced by driver inattention/lapses.
- According to data from Australia, England, Finland, and other European nations, all of whom have more consistent
crash reporting procedures than the U.S., drowsy driving represents 10 to 30 percent of all crashes.
Before “hitting the road”
- Get adequate sleep—most adults need 7-9 hours to maintain proper alertness during the day
- Schedule proper breaks—about every 100 miles or 2 hours during long trips
- Arrange for a travel companion—someone to talk with and share the driving
- Avoid alcohol and sedating medications—check your labels or ask your doctor
Countermeasures to Prevent a Fall-Asleep Crash
- Watch for the warning signs of fatigue—see above
- Stop driving—pull off at the next exit, rest area or find a place to
sleep for the night
- Take a nap—find a safe place to take a 15 to 20-minute
- Consume caffeine—the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee can increase
alertness for several hours
- Try consuming caffeine before taking a short nap
to get the benefits of both
Caffeine -- does it help?
Caffeine promotes short-term
alertness. It takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to begin working so the best thing to do is pull over for a coffee or other
caffeinated beverage, take a short nap, and then get back on the road. Keep in mind that caffeine won’t have much of
an effect on people who consume it regularly.