AAA Study Shows Drowsy Driving an Underreported Problem

HYANNIS – A recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that the percentage of crashes involving drowsiness is eight times higher than federal estimates indicate, and is one of the most underreported traffic safety issues.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than seven hours a night.

AAA found that while 96 percent of surveyed drivers view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety, 29 percent of those admitted to driving when they were so tire they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month.

AAA reminds drivers to be aware of the warning signs which include: having trouble keeping your eyes open; lane drifting; not remembering the last few miles driven. If experiencing any of these signs, it’s vital to pull over in a safe area immediately and to take a nap of no more than 20 minutes.

“You want to sleep for 20 minutes, no more than 30 because if you sleep too long you’ll become groggy and drowsy when you wake up,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs.

“A 20 minute nap is the key magic number in terms of restoring alertness to you so you can keep driving safely.”

AAA also recommends traveling at times of the day when you are normally awake, avoiding heavy foods, avoiding medications that can cause drowsiness, and scheduling a break every two hours or 100 miles.

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