Asleep at the wheel: Study finds motorists admit to drowsy driving

Asleep at the wheel: Study finds motorists admit to drowsy driving

Sleep. Many of us complain we don’t get enough of it, and a new study shows that the lack of sleep is causing dangerous driving situations on the road.

In recognition of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week (Nov. 3-10), the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey and found one in four driver struggled to stay awake in the last month. Drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 years were most likely (33 percent) to report driving drowsy behavior compared with other age groups. The older drivers over age 75 and the youngest, 16- and 17-year-olds, were least likely to report feeling sleepy behind the wheel.

Nearly all drivers (95 percent) feel drowsy driving is unacceptable and 83 percent say driving sleepy is a serious threat.  

Drowsy drivers have trouble keeping their eyes and head up behind the wheel, drift out of their lane, can’t remember the last few miles they drove, and miss traffic signs or exits. A 2010 AAA study found that 17 percent of fatal crashes were related to drowsy driving.

Here are some tips from AAA to help prevent drivers from falling asleep behind the wheel.

  • Get plenty of sleep (at least seven hours).
  • Stop driving if you feel sleepy. Safely pull over and take a short power nap to help you rejuvenate and get back on the road.
  • Travel during daylight times and not overnight.
  • Take a break every two hours or 100 miles.
  • Avoid heavy foods.
  • Try some caffeine, although it takes about 30 minutes to feel the effects.
  • Travel with someone who will be awake and who can talk to you or take on some of the driving responsibilities. Often lively conversation will help keep you awake and focused.
  • Consult a sleep specialist if you have trouble sleeping or are always tired.

Need a wake-up call? See our coffee and coffeemakers buying advice and Ratings.

Liza Barth

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on this website. Copyright © 2007-2013 Consumers Union of U.S.

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