Who is at risk from drowsy driving?

• Young people, especially males under age 26

  • Thursday, July 17, 2008 8:44pm
  • Opinion

• Young people, especially males under age 26

• Shift workers and people with long work hours. Working the night shift increases your risk by nearly six times; rotating-shift workers and people working more than 60 hours a week need to be particularly careful

• Commercial drivers, especially long-haul drivers. At least 15 percent of all heavy truck crashes involve fatigue

• People with undiagnosed or untreated disorders. People with untreated obstructive sleep apnea have been shown to have seven times more risk of falling asleep at the wheel

• Business travelers-who spend many hours driving or may be jet lagged

Before you 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 percent)

• Working more than one job and your main job involves shift work

• Drinking even small amounts of alcohol

• Driving alone or on a long, rural, dark or boring road

Warning signs

• 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

• Feeling restless and irritable

Source: www.drowsydriving.org

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