Study: Younger Drivers Fall Asleep While Driving

By Jacob Brown | November 09, 2012
Younger, less-experienced drivers often get a bad rap for doing stupid things behind the wheel of giant, fast-moving transportation units that quickly become weapons when not used properly. Now we're told that they fall asleep more often while driving than other age groups, too. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has laid out the details from a recent study that says drivers age 16 to 24 were 78 percent more likely to be drowsy than drivers 40 to 59 at the time of a crash. That is to say that one in seven younger drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel versus one in 10 across all drivers. Yup, teen and young adult drivers are still dangerous hazards to society. AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet says, "In preparation for the holiday driving season and with many young drivers heading home for Thanksgiving break, AAA is drawing attention to this often overlooked crash risk that is a serious threat to everyone's safety on the road." Drowsy driving is often just as dangerous as drunk driving, causing slower reaction times, vision impairment, and poor judgment. If you're not in a big honkin' luxury car that tells you when to pull over when it senses you're getting tired--really cool technology, by the way--here are some tips you need to know to prevent falling asleep at the wheel and causing crashes:
  • Get plenty of sleep before a long trip.
  • Avoid traveling when you'd ordinarily be sleeping.
  • Don't be afraid to take a quick nap at a rest stop in a well-lighted area if needed.
  • Schedule a break every two hours or 100 miles.
  • Avoid heavy foods.
  • Travel with a companion and take turns driving. At the very least, know the limits of your abilities and don't push them over the course of hundreds of miles.
  • Avoid medication that causes drowsiness or impairment.
Driving under the influence of anything other than happiness and goodwill to your fellow drivers is never a good idea, and we're with AAA on this one. Safe travels this holiday season, and it's never worth pushing beyond your abilities to maintain a schedule. Where you're going will be there no matter what. Getting there two hours later than expected because you took a rest isn't going to make or break a trip.
Source: AAA