Operating a car is a complex task and demands your full attention. One reason why drunk driving is so deadly and why there has been a decade’s long campaign by law enforcement and other highway safety groups is that alcohol not only impairs your cognitive and motor reflexes that you rely on for safe operation of a motor vehicle, but it impairs your ability to recognize that you are impaired.
Drunk driving is well recognized as a danger to the intoxicated driver, other drivers and pedestrians. Recently, a spate of accidents in southeastern Pennsylvania is raising the profile of drowsy driving. Multiple car accidents involving fatigued drivers has led a warning that drivers should be just as vigilant to the threat posed by drowsy driving as they are to alcohol impairment.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports an increase in the number of drowsy driving crashes. They calculate there has been a 23 percent increase in the last five years in the counties surrounding Philadelphia.
Individuals who work overnight or begin work very early may be at risk, but anyone who has failed to get adequate amount of sleep could be at risk of nodding off while driving. If you find it difficult to keep your eyes open and your head suddenly drops, you have experienced drowsy driving.
In this situation, stop and get a large cup of coffee, or better, some sleep. If necessary, call a cab. While you can be fined $127 if stopped by the police, that cost will pale next to the cost of serious accident, assuming you survive the crash.
Source: NBC10 News, “Call for Caution: Drowsy Driving Crashes Trending Up in Region,” Vince Lattanzio, May 13, 2014