‘Tis the Season, to Stay Awake
The holiday are just a few weeks away and people are getting into the spirit. Holidays can bring friends and family together which can result in late nights of celebration. All good things must come to an end and parties are no exception. The problem is having to drive home after you have been awake for more than have the night catching up with people you haven’t seen all year. You have done the responsible thing by choosing not to drink, but now you face a long seemingly endless dark highway and drowsiness is beginning to set in. Driving drowsy can prove to be as dangerous as driving intoxicated. A study done in Australia discovered that a person who’s been awake for more than 24 hours has the same level of concentration as someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.10%. That’s higher than what the law considers too intoxicated to drive, 0.08%.
Drowsy driving isn’t taken as serious as drunk driving because drivers often underestimate how tired they really are. One imagines that they can drive simply because they are sober, even though they have trouble keeping their eyes open. According to Forbes, 83.6 million people get behind the wheel every day while suffering from sleep deprivation. Not including the 40 million who suffer with some kind of sleep disorder. In 2015, an estimated 5,000 people were killed as a results of drowsy driving.
Thanksgiving Holiday Drivers
Thanksgiving Eve is considered one of the busiest nights for bars, which means a greater chance of impaired drivers making their way home after last call. Thanksgiving weekend is one of the most traveled holiday periods of the year. Any time you get more traffic mixed in with possible celebrations involving alcohol you are going to get an increase in accidents. It has gotten to predictable that state law enforcement issues a fatality estimate for the holidays and they are usually too accurate for comfort.
The reason why driving tried is so dangerous is because fatigue affects your alertness and attentiveness as a driver. It delays your reaction time and decision-making skills which means you physically won’t be able to avoid an upcoming accident. Being tired means you put your brain on auto-pilot, especially if the road is dark and straight. Your eyes may be open but mentality you are somewhere else. Some of us have experienced that frightening sensation when you can’t remember the last few miles you driven. Now imagine not be able to remember how you ended up in a field, backwards, after closing your eyes for what you thought was a second.
An article on Gas Buddy’s website reported that the hours where drivers are most vulnerable to drowsiness is between 2-4 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.
Tips for the Tired
This holiday season if you are planning on driving after a long party, or road tripping your way to the family reunion, try these tips when you get the first yawn.
- 20 minute power nap at a rest area or a place safe enough to park away from traffic.
- Two cups of coffee or caffeinated drinks to jump start your brain back from the drowsy spell.
- Certain vehicles allow you to brighten the lights on the dashboard which can help keep you awake.
The safest way to avoid driving drowsy is to stay the night if you feel tired. A few hours of sleep could mean the difference between being alive for the next holiday celebration.
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