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Falling asleep while driving: More common than you think

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Asleep behind the wheel, the car drifting into another lane and hitting another car. Drivers so drowsy they can't keep their eyes open.

It’s dangerous and may be a lot more common than you think.

Nearly one out of every three drivers on the road is dangerously drowsy, according to a survey by the AAA Foundation, even though almost every single driver questioned said driving like this is unacceptable.

Robin Belle is an in-home nurse and drives as many as 600 miles a week. She admits she's been a drowsy driver.

“If I find myself getting sleepy, I roll down the windows, chew gum, sing along with the radio,” she says.

Drivers 24 and younger as twice as likely to drive drowsy as middle aged drivers. And two-thirds of the drowsy drivers are men.

“It concerns me, yes,” says Manassas resident Howard Robinson. “I'm sure it happens. The way work is today, I've maybe been there a couple times too.”

Warning signs of sleepiness include, but are not limited to:

-Having difficulty keeping your eyes open and focused, having heavy eyelids
-Difficulty 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 traffic signs or driving past your intended exit
-Yawning repeatedly and rubbing your eyes
-Feeling irritable or restless

To remain alert and prevent a crash, AAA offers these tips:
-Get plenty of sleep (at least seven hours) the night before a long trip
-Stop driving if you become sleepy; fatigue impacts reaction time, judgment and vision, causing people who are very sleepy to behave in similar ways to those who are drunk
-Travel at times when you are normally awake, and stay overnight rather than driving straight through
-Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles
-Drink a caffeinated beverage. Since it takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream, find a safe place to take a 20-30 minute nap

For more, click here.

 

 

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