We all know that driving under the influence is stupid, but what about driving while drowsy? DWD? Is that even a thing? IDK, but let’s NOT make it a thing.
Similar to driving under the influence, driving while drowsy is dangerous and impairs your ability to drive safely. You pay less attention to what’s going on around you. Your reaction time is slower. And your ability to make decisions is affected. So, please no DUIs or DWDs!
Let’s compare apples to apples: DUIs and DWDs. After 18 hours of being awake, your brainpower (or lack of brainpower) is similar to that of someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%. After about 24 hours of being awake, cognitive impairment is equivalent to a BAC of 0.10%. That’s higher than the legal limit (0.08%) in all states. So think again before you drive to campus after you’ve stayed up all night “studying” for an exam. Just take the shuttle to school!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 2.5% of fatal crashes and 2% of injury crashes involve drowsy driving. In fact, these numbers are probably underestimates. Up to 5,000 or 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers.
Here’s what you can do to prevent drowsy driving:
- Get enough sleep! According to the National Institutes of Health, adults need 7 or 8 hours of sleep a day, while adolescents need 9 or 10 hours.
- If you have a sleep disorder, make sure to seek treatment.
- Refrain from drinking alcohol or taking sedating medications (like NyQuil) before driving.
If you’re yawning or blinking frequently, drifting from your lane, missing your exit, or have difficulty remembering the past few miles driven, then you’re probably drowsy and should not be driving. Simply turning up the radio or the AC aren’t effective ways to keep you alert. Pull over and rest for a bit or change drivers. If you’re driving a long distance, take a friend with you so you can take turns driving, help keep each other awake, and split gas money!
By ALYSSA LLAMAS