It says driving while sleepy is eight times higher than federal estimates.
Towson, Md (KM). A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says drowsy driving may be a bigger problem that some people think.
The Foundation examined dash-cam videos from more than 700 crashes which looked at the drivers’ faces three-minutes leading up to a crash. It found that 9.5% of all crashes and 10.8% of all crashes resulting in significant property damage involved drowsiness. Federal estimates indicate that drowsiness as a factor only 1% to 2% of crashes.
Ragina Cooper Averella with AAA Mid-Atlantic says the percentage of crashes involving sleepy drivers is eight times higher that federal estimates indicate. “So that’s a bit troubling,” she says. “The difficulty in detecting drowsiness following a crash makes drowsy driving one of the most under reported traffic safety issues and we’re certainly aware of that.”
AAA says the signs of drowsy drivers include having trouble keeping their eyes open, drifting from their lanes and not remembering the last few miles they’ve traveled.
Averella says ways to prevent drowsy driving include getting at least seven hours of sleep the night before; traveling at the times of day when you’re usually awake; avoiding heavy foods and medications that cause drowsiness. “Unfortunately, things like drinking coffee, turning the radio up really loud, singing, rolling down the windows to get air really do not cure drowsiness,” she says.
When starting out on a long trip, AAA says get plenty of sleep the night before; schedule a break every two hours or 100-miles; travel with an a passenger and take turns driving; and pull off the road and take a power nap of at least 20-minutes or more.
If you have to work late and are leaving for home in the wee hours of the morning, Averella says “try to remain alert. Again. if you’re too tired to drive, even if you’re leaving work–of course, everyone wants get home from work–if you’re tired, take a quick little nap before you hit the road.”
By Kevin McManus