Common sense tells people that trying to operate a vehicle when they feel sleepy is probably not a good idea. However, many New Jersey drivers may not be aware of just how pervasive a problem drowsy driving is. Driver fatigue contributes to approximately 100,000 accidents each year, reports the National Sleep Foundation. More 100 million people admit to falling asleep behind the wheel and 60 percent of drivers have felt drowsy but driven a vehicle anyway. The groups most at risk for getting behind the wheel while tired are parents, workers whose hours fall outside typical business hours and young adults.
Studies have shown that driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving while drunk. In fact, according to the Huffington Post, a person whose blood alcohol content is over the legal limit is equally as impaired as someone who has been awake for 18 hours straight. In addition, people who get less than six hours of sleep at night are three times more likely to get in accident caused by fatigue. Yet, the problem of drowsy driving persists.
Drivers who are overly tired may display such warning signs as:
- Trouble keeping their heads up or eyes open
- Straying from the lane they are driving in
- Having a hard time focusing on the road
- Missing their exit or not paying attention to road signs
When taking a long trip, it is recommended that drivers take a break every two hours. Of course, the easiest way to prevent drowsy driving accidents is for drivers to refrain from getting behind the wheel if they have not gotten a good night’s sleep.