Prevent a Crash: Don’t Drive Drowsy
It’s Nearly as Bad as Drunk Driving
Every year, in the US alone, there are over 5 million car crashes. Those crashes result in nearly 40,000 deaths, and nearly 2.5 million people are injured or disabled because of them. That’s a lot of pain and suffering caused by something that could have likely been avoided.
While distracted driving and drunk driving make up the bulk of the accidents, there is another one that’s just as bad: drowsy driving. If you’ve ever been on a long trip, or driven home late at night, you know the struggle of driving while tired.
But just how bad is it?
Drunk Driving vs. Drowsy Driving
Everyone handles being tired differently. But as we get more and more tired, we get more and more impaired. Eventually, if you don’t take care of the issue, there will be an accident.
So how does driving while tired compare to being drunk? They’re a lot more similar than you think. Drunk driving doesn’t usually occur when someone is falling over because they can’t control their body any longer. It usually happens when someone can still function fairly normally, but they have had enough to drink that they can’t control themselves fully. In other words: drunk driving accidents happen because as we consume alcohol, our reaction time decreases.
The same thing happens when you’re tired. The more tired you become, the slower you are to react. Drowsy driving isn’t drifting off the road because you fell asleep (although that does happen), it’s not stopping in time, over-correcting when you do drift, or failure to see road hazards.
After you have been awake for 18 hours, you drive as though you have a blood alcohol level of .05 (remember .08 is legally drunk). After not sleeping for 24 hours, it’s as though you have a BAC of .10. For many people the result of a lack of sleep is actually a lot higher than that.
How to Combat Drowsy Driving
There are very few instances where we absolutely must drive right at that particular time. Usually drowsy driving accidents happen because we’re only an hour from our destination and we can rest then. Here’s what you need to know before you find yourself driving like drunk.
Caffeine – It’s not the best solution, but it can help you stay awake if you need a little push.
Eating – Don’t eat a greasy cheeseburger and fries, but try something like sunflower seeds. Small nibbles keep your mind active.
Talk – Use a hands-free set and call a friend. Have them help you stay awake and keep on talking.
Stop and Rest – Pull over at a rest area, lean the seat back, and snooze for half an hour. It won’t be enough to keep you going for a long time, but it can give you the energy needed to go a couple more hours.
Postpone the Drive – If there’s no reason that you must get there right away, let yourself sleep for three or four hours (or a full night). It’s not worth your life to try and drive tired.
Let Big Sky Collision Center Fix your Vehicle
Here at Big Sky Collision Center, we want to make sure that you’re safe on the road. If you happen to be one of those 5 million+ people that get in a wreck, bring your crashed vehicle to the best auto body repair shop in Billings. We will get you fixed up and back on the road with a vehicle that has been fully restored to factory safety standards.