One person was killed and four others were hurt in a recent California
car accident, after the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The accident
happened around 11:42 p.m. on westbound I-10 near Desert Center, according
to California Highway Patrol.
Unfortunately, driving while fatigued is all too common. About one-half
of adult drivers – 51% or about 100 million people – say they
have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and almost
two in ten have actually fallen asleep at the wheel, according to the
National Sleep Foundation’s
(NSF) 2002 Sleep in America poll.
In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates
driver fatigue causes 100,000 police-reported crashes, 1,550 deaths, and
71,000 injuries each year.
The good news is that drowsy driving accidents are preventable. Since any
driver can fall victim to drowsy driving, below are some precautions you
can take to stay alert while behind the wheel.
- Make sure you get enough sleep. Adults need seven to nine hours while most
teenagers need 8 1/2 to 9 1/2 hours of sleep a day.
- Drive with a friend. You can share driving responsibilities and help keep
each other alert while on the road.
- Take a break every couple of hours. By stretching your legs, catching a
quick nap or having a meal out of the car you can recharge your battery.
- Drive sober. Alcohol and driving is a deadly combination. Also, make sure
you are not taking any prescription drugs that could make you drowsy.