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It's National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week

Many Rhode Island drivers can likely relate to experiencing one of the following symptoms while driving.

  • Repeatedly yawning
  • Wandering thoughts
  • Trouble recalling details about the last few miles traveled
  • Drifting across the center line, onto the road's shoulder or into other traffic lanes
  • Failing to stop at stop signs or red lights
  • Heavy eyelids

All of the above-mentioned signs are commonly associated with drowsy or fatigued driving. This week, Nov. 1-8, is National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week and provides an opportune time to focus on a dangerous driving behavior in which millions of drivers engage and that, each year, adversely impacts thousands of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that, at some point, a shocking "43 percent of U.S. drivers admitted to falling asleep or nodding off while driving." This alarming statistic should serve as a wake-up call for the millions of U.S. drivers who aren't getting adequate amounts of sleep and repeatedly put not only their own lives in danger, but also those of other drivers and passengers.

According to an official from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 5,000 to 7,000 people are killed each year in accidents that are attributed to drowsy driving-related errors. Among the demographics identified as being most at-risk of driving while drowsy are young drivers age 19-24 as nearly 40 percent of drivers surveyed in this age group "reported struggling to keep their eyes open while driving at least once in the past month."

Individuals who are sleep-deprived or experiencing signs of fatigue should take care not to drive. Additionally, drivers who realize that they are sleepy should stop driving and take a rest or let a passenger drive.

Source: ABC News, "Wake-Up Call: Alarming Number of Motorists Confess to Drowsy Driving," Jeffrey Cook, Nov. 4, 2015

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