Fatigued driving is frequent problem
In the last few years, the dangers of distracted driving have become much better known. State after state has passed restrictions against texting while driving and cellphone use behind the wheel.
What is less well known, however, is that drowsing driving can be just as dangerous as distracted driving or drunk driving. When people who are fatigued try to drive, they put other drivers and pedestrians at risk of injury or death. This is the case not only in Charlotte and throughout North Carolina, but across the country.
A new research study shows just how frequently fatigued driving really is. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that about 4 percent of U.S. adults admit to having nodded off or fallen asleep while driving in the previous month. Even if it happened only once, obviously that’s one time too many.
Some groups of people are more likely than others to engage in drowsy driving. The CDC found that the problem was more common in men than women. Young adults between 25 and 34 were also among those most likely to drive while fatigued.
To be sure, there are many factors that affect getting sufficient sleep. Some people have sleep apnea. Others have jobs whose off-hours make it hard to maintain natural sleep rhythms. The bottom line, however, is that a sleep-deprived driver is a dangerous driver.
Drivers who are fighting fatigue should therefore be attentive to signs that warn of drowsy driving. As common sense would suggest, one of these signs is feeling extremely tired. Another is gaps in memory, in which a driver doesn’t really remember the last few miles. Yet another is drifting over to the side of the road.
Source: “CDC: 1 in 24 admit nodding off while driving,” Boston Globe, Mike Stobbe, 1-3-13
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