November 6-12 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, a time to raise awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving.
An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study shows that one in six deadly crashes involves drowsy driving. And, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that each year drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than 100,000 accidents. According to the Washington State Patrol, in 2010, there were 17 people killed and 74 seriously injured in Washington state because motorists were either drowsy or had fallen asleep while driving.
A KING5 story from Sunday listed the following warning signs that you might be too tired to drive:
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and/or heavy eyelids
- Difficulty keeping daydreams at bay
- Trouble keeping your head up
- Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips
- Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven
- Missing exits or traffic signs
- Yawning repeatedly
- Feeling restless, irritable, or aggressive.
Discovery Channel’s MythBusters tackled the topic last year on the show Tipsy v. Tired. The MythBusters made three to 10 times more mistakes on the obstacle course after staying awake for 30 hours than they did driving the course with a blood alcohol level just below 0.08%. Thus, the “myth” that driving while sleep deprived is more dangerous that driving under the influence of alcohol was confirmed.
For more information about preventing drowsy driving, go to AAA Washington’s How To Avoid Drowsy Driving.