AAA Study Warns Of Dangers Of Drowsy Driving

HYANNIS – Recent research done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers may underestimate their drowsiness while on the road, leading them to stay behind the wheel and risk harm to themselves and others.

The foundation noted that although it is underreported in government statistics, 16 to 21 percent of all police-reported fatal vehicle crashes likely involve drowsy drivers.

The research involved a study which simulated 150 miles of nighttime driving, with rest stops every 20 miles, measuring the percentage of time participants’ eyes were closed to gauge sleepiness, as well as a survey to gauge how tired drivers felt.

The findings indicated that when drivers rated their level of drowsiness as low, 75% of them were actually moderately or severely drowsy.

Participating drivers rarely took breaks unless they perceived that they were very drowsy, and even in such instances they declined 75% of their opportunities to take breaks.

“Being drowsy whole driving is a dangerous form of impairment, and it does not resolve or improve with continued driving,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Vice President of Government and Public Affairs.

“Our goal is to help drivers learn to heed the warning signs of drowsiness so they can stop, rest, and continue their journey as safely as possible.”

The foundation is advising drivers to learn to recognize the signs of drowsiness, such as difficulty keeping one’s eyes open, drifting in and out of lanes, and failing to remember the most recent miles driven, and to seek a safe place to get off the road and rest when feeling tired.

AAA also recommends that drivers travel during hours in which they are usually awake and to avoid heavy foods and medications which cause drowsiness.

For longer trips, drivers should schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles.

According to AAA a quick nap lasting between twenty and thirty minutes can make a large difference in maintaining alertness on the road.

To learn more, click here.

By, Matthew Tomlinson, NewsCenter



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