The holiday season is the time of the year when impaired and drowsy driving accidents are most prevalent.
Many of us would never imagine that a holiday celebration could result in a fatality or imprisonment. The risks associated with driving while drowsy are very real. Driving performance can be impaired, reaction times increase and it could result in tragic consequences for everyone involved.
The Drowsy Driving Problem
Drowsy driving usually happens when a driver has not slept enough, but it can also happen due to drinking alcohol, untreated sleep disorders, medication or shift work.
No one knows the exact moment when sleep comes over their body. Falling asleep at the wheel is clearly dangerous, but being sleepy affects your ability to drive safely even if you don’t fall asleep.
- Makes drivers less able to pay attention to the road.
- Slows reaction time if you have to brake or take evasive action suddenly.
- Affects a driver’s ability to make good decisions.
How many micro-sleeps are acceptable?
A micro-sleep is a short episode of sleep that can last anywhere from 1 second to 30 seconds. They occur during times of sleepiness, generally without warning. It’s a very light sleep. Often the person having the micro-sleep won’t even be aware they had just nodded off.
One micro-sleep is all it takes for an accident to occur.
Did you know?
Sleepiness or drowsy driving is a serious problem and one of the leading causes of road crashes each year. It can happen to anyone, no matter how experienced a driver they might be.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for over 72,000 crashes, and 800 deaths per annum.
Who’s more likely to drive drowsy?
- Drivers who do not get enough sleep.
- Commercial drivers who operate vehicles such as tow trucks, tractor trailers, and buses.
- Shift workers (work the night shift or long shifts).
- Drivers with untreated sleep disorders such as one where breathing repeatedly stops and starts (sleep apnoea).
- Drivers who use medications that make them sleepy.
Optalert’s vision is for every driver to be protected, all of the time.
For more information on how Optalert’s technology is able provide drivers advanced warning of their drowsiness or alertness state, please see:
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