Did you know that drowsy driving is now considered by many to be as dangerous as drunk driving? We’ve talked about this increasing concern in our blog before and it bears repeating. With National Drowsy Driving Awareness Day approaching this April 6, 2019, it is imperative that we talk about these concerning statistics and work together to find ways to prevent this event from taking place in our local community.
Today, drowsy driving is prevalent among all age groups. In fact, “according to the American Sleep Foundation, about half of U.S. adult drivers admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while feeling drowsy. About 20% admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point in the past year – with more than 40% admitting this has happened at least once in their driving careers.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that “every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving.” Did you know, however, according to the National Transportation Library, over fifty percent of all incidents occur to those under 25 years of age? This is a concerning statistic for any parent, and perhaps even more so for a parent of a college-age student.
It is important for us as a local community to address this issue that has only increased in recent years. Each day we work with families whose lives have been forever changed by drowsy or fatigued driving. Let us share a few tips with you here that you can use with your loved ones, including your children, to potentially avoid the impact of an accident like this.
1. Talk to your college students about making good choices. Our college-age children tend to feel invincible. While you want to encourage your student to get the most out of his or her college experience, it is critical that this includes making good choices when it comes to getting behind the wheel. For many college students, driving means freedom to explore, get to class, and even come home. One of the keys to their safety though is to do this when they are fully alert and ready to drive. Warn them that research says each of us is “three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued”.
2. Set a good example at home. Often, the behavior of parents and grandparents dictates what their children and grandchildren will do in the future. Create habits and patterns that you want your children to emulate. Do not drive drowsy yourselves. Even if you think your children are not watching, they are. Even if you believe you are able to drive under any circumstance, in reality you probably are not, and you do not want your child to believe this behavior is acceptable.
3. Enlist the help of friends, parents, and other individuals in your circle. Most long-lasting habits come from repetition. Although it may sound unusual, this can also apply to reinforcing behavior within circles of influence that your college student is in right now. Ask other parents for their help in reiterating the importance of not driving drowsy or when fatigued. There is little doubt that the parents you know have the same concerns and are going through the same thing that you are. Additionally, do not wait to talk to your kids until they are alone. Talk to them about how to be safe in front of their friends. Encourage them to hold each other accountable and if they see someone about to drive when extremely fatigued to take the keys away, just as they would when alcohol is involved.
4. Consider a vehicle with crash avoidance technology. There are new types of warning systems appearing in cars today. If you can, the National Safety Council recommends considering “new and existing safety technologies, such as drowsiness alert and lane departure warnings, which can detect common drowsy driving patterns and warn drivers to stay in their lane or take a break”.
These are just a few of the ways you can help prevent drowsy driving. One of the keys to success can be to talk to your family and children as soon as possible to help stop this epidemic across America. If you have questions or need help on this issue specifically, or any driving related issue in Tallahassee, do not wait to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys. We are on call for you 24-hours a day, seven days a week.