Sleepy drivers rule the road, if not their zzz’s

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Mid adult man yawning while driving a carBELLEVUE – A new AAA report shows more than a quarter of drivers admit to being so tired behind the wheel, they have trouble keeping their eyes open.

The study found drivers between 19-24 years old were most likely to report being ‘dangerously tired’ at the wheel (33%) while the oldest drivers (75+) and youngest drivers (16-18) were less likely at 22%.

Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed Nov. 11-17 as ‘Drowsy Driving Prevention Week’ to shed light on this problem.

“Drowsy driving remains a significant threat to the motoring public,’ Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said. “Driving while fatigued is dangerous because it slows reaction time, impairs vision and causes lapses in judgment, similar to driving drunk. We know that people can’t reliably predict when they are going to fall asleep, and a very fatigued driver may fall asleep for several seconds without even realizing it.”

In a news release, AAA lists some of the warning signs of drowsy driving:

  • The inability to recall the last few miles traveled;
  • Having disconnected or wandering thoughts;
  • Having difficulty focusing or keeping your eyes open;
  • Feeling as though your head is very heavy;
  • Drifting out of your driving lane, perhaps driving on the rumble strips;
  • Yawning repeatedly;
  • Accidentally tailgating other vehicles;
  • Missing traffic signs.

They ask drivers to make sure to get enough sleep before long drives. Also taking a break every couple of hours of 100 miles, avoid heavy foods and if possible, take turns driving with a passenger.

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