The Dangers of Fatigued Driving Explained
Written by Greg on May 11, 2018
By its definition, fatigue driving is when a driver, after prolonged periods of continuous driving, experiences mental and physical functional disorder.
Fatigued Driving Means a Deadly Driver
As lethal and unforgiving as fatigue driving can be thousands of drivers are willing to take the chance and get behind a wheel daily in this country. It’s that push-pull factor of needing to be somewhere but not having the ample amount sleep to operate a vehicle.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that fatigue driving plays a part in 7,500 fatal motor vehicle crashes a year in the U.S. Almost four years ago, comedian Tracy Morgan was left in a coma for weeks while his friend died after a truck crashed into their limo in what was believed to be an accident caused by driver fatigue. It was reported that the driver of the truck had not slept in 28 hours prior to the fatal accident.
What’s interesting is that federal estimates indicate fatigue driving or drowsy driving accounted for only 1% to 2% of crashes in this country. But most studies have found those numbers to be significantly higher.
Fatigued Driving is a Big Problem
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a study of 700 accidents and found that 9.5% of those crashes involved drowsy drivers. The AAA study found that 96% of those surveyed view drowsy driving as a serious threat, yet 29% of them admitted to driving the previous month despite the fact that they had trouble keeping their eyes open.
Fatigue driving can be a little more difficult to track than drunk driving because there is no way to measure how tired someone may have been following an accident. But make no mistake, a fatigue driver is every bit as dangers as a drunk driver.
In fact, driver fatigue often mimics alcohol impairment because both compromise the driver’s alertness, decision making, and reaction times.
A person who has been awake for 17 hours faces the same risk of having a crash as a person who has a BAC reading of 0.05 g/100ml, making them both twice as likely to have an accident as someone who has not been drinking. A driver who has been awake for 24 hours will have nearly the same driving performance of someone who has a BAC reading of 0.1g/100ml, making them seven times more likely to be involved in a crash.
Fatigue driving is as much of a choice and as irresponsible as someone making the decision to drink and drive. So, take the proper precautions like getting enough rest before getting behind the wheel and pulling over to get rest if you find yourself getting tired while on a road trip or even driving across town.
Keep in mind if a driver falls asleep for only four second while traveling at 100 km per hour, that car will have gone 111 meters without a driver in control.
Drivers most at risk are long haul 18 wheeler truck drivers, young drivers, shift workers and drivers with sleep disorders.
Tips to Avoid Fatigue Behind the Wheel
Here are some guidelines all drivers should adhere to before getting behind the wheel.
- Get enough sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours per night.
- Start trips as early in the day as possible.
- Avoid long nighttime drives.
- Avoid driving during normal sleeping hours.
- Avoid driving alone if possible.
- Take public transit or use ride-sharing companies if possible.
- Keep trips to reasonable distances.
- Watch for road and traffic signs.
- Before driving, eat light rather than heavy meals.
- Stop to eat snacks or light meals.
For more information: https://www.cdc.gov/features/dsdrowsydriving/index.html