A recent report has shown that younger drivers are more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel, as one in seven drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 have fallen asleep at least once while driving during the past year.
The study, released by AAA, compares that to older drivers, where only one in 10 have fallen asleep behind the wheel this past year. AAA estimates that one in six deadly crashes involves a tired and sleepy driver, with the National Sleep Foundation stating that “being awake for more than 20 hours results in impairment equal to a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent.”
As a result, it’s time for some safe reminders on when to pull over and take a break if you’re feeling drowsy behind the wheel. Most important is to start the drive alert with seven to nine hours of sleep the night before. While many during the holiday season want to avoid traffic by driving at night, getting a good night’s sleep is much safer. Of course if you have the option to take along a friend for the drive, do so. Not only can they take over if you’re tired, but they can provide conversation to keep you awake and alert.
If fatigue starts setting in while driving, take a break every 100 miles or so to wake yourself up. If you find a safe enough place to take a 15- to 20- minute nap, it’s recommended; but be cautious about extra drowsiness when waking up afterwards. Avoid driving during hours when you’re normally asleep, and of course, avoid alcohol or medications that can cause drowsiness. Lastly, turn to caffeine as your friend if you need it. The equivalent of two cups of coffee can increase your alertness for several hours.