| Mar 21, 2012
The lack of a good night's
rest can do more than put you in a sour mood. It can also impair your driving,
leading to potentially disastrous consequences. According to the National Sleep
Foundation, 28 percent of adults in the U.S. say they've nodded off at the
wheel in the past year.
Those most at risk for
driving while drowsy include:
- New and young drivers,
- Shift Workers
- People who sleep less
than eight hours each night
from drowsiness cause approximately 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries each year,
according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Besides
accidents, sleepiness can lead to higher stress levels, slower reaction times
and faster, more aggressive driving.
To help reduce your
chances of falling asleep behind the wheel:
- Get enough sleep at night. Drivers who sleep for only six to seven hours each night
are twice as likely to get in an accident as those who get at least eight
hours. It's even worse for those who sleep five hours or less—they are four
times more likely to be involved in a collision. If you feel bored, restless, are having a hard time
concentrating or have tired eyes, you need a break.
- Pull over. If you feel bored, restless or are having a hard time concentrating or have tires eyes, you need a break. Pull over to a rest stop,
stretch, take a short nap or switch drivers. Take a break every two hours.
- Adjust your car's
settings.Stay more alert
by keeping the temperature cool, playing loud, high-energy music, turning off
the cruise control and placing your seat back in an upright position.
- Wear sunglasses during
the day. Bright sunlight
can cause you to squint, making your eyes tired.
- Watch what you eat and
drink. Caffeine and sugary
products don't ensure mental alertness. Instead, opt for water or juice, and
high-protein foods rather than heavier fare.
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