Drowsy Driving

SAFE-D: Sleep, Alertness and Fatigue Education for Drivers from AASMorg on Vimeo.

Did You Know?
According to sleepfoundation.org, 100,000 crashes each year are caused by fatigued drivers.
55% of drowsy driving crashes are caused by drivers under 25 years old.
Being awake for 18 hours is equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, which is legally drunk and leaves you at equal risk of crash.

How can you tell if you are “driving while drowsy”?
Here are some signs to stop and rest:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
  • Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts
  • Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
  • Feeling restless and irritable

Are you at risk?
Before you drive, check to see if you are:

  • Sleep-deprived or fatigued (6 hours of sleep or less triples your risk)
  • Suffering from sleep loss (insomnia), poor quality sleep, or sleep dept
  • Driving long distances without proper rest breaks
  • Driving through the night, mid-afternoon or when you would normally be asleep
  • Taking sedating medications (antidepressants, cold tablets, antihistamines)
  • Working more than 60 hours a week (increases your risk by 40%)
  • Working more than one job and your main job involves shift work
  • Drinking even small amounts of  alcohol
  • Driving alone or on a long, rural, dark or boring road

Specific At-Risk Groups

The risk of a crash due to drowsy driving is not uniformly distributed across the population. Research has identified some groups as being at increased risk:

  • Young people - especially males under 25 years old.
  • Shift workers and people with long work hours - Working the night shift increases your risk by nearly six times. Rotating-shift workers and people working more than 60 hours a week need to be particularly careful.
  • Commercial drivers - especially long-haul drivers. At least 15% of truck crashes involve fatigue.
  • People with undiagnosed or untreated disorders - obstructive apnea sufferers have up to seven times the increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
  • Business travelers - spend many hours driving or may be jet-lagged.


Before hitting the road:

  • Get adequate sleep - most adults need 7-9 hours to remain alert during the day.
  • Schedule proper breaks - every 100 mi.s or 2 hr.s during long trips.
  • Arrange for a travel companion - to talk with and share the driving.
  • Avoid alcohol and sedating medications - check your labels or ask your doctor.

To prevent a fall-asleep crash while driving:

  • Watch for the warning signs of fatigue - see above.
  • Stop driving - pull off at the next exit or find a place to sleep for the night.
  • Take a nap - find a safe place to take a 15-20 minute nap.
  • Consume the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee. Caffeine is available in various forms (eg. soft drinks, energy drinks, tea, gum) and amounts-it takes about 30 min.s to enter the blood stream and will not greatly affect those who regularly consume it.

Current Research Studies

Our center performs Research Studies and Clinical Trials to help determine the effective-ness of new drugs and treat-ments.
We are currently seeking participants for the following studies:

Adult Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Adult Narcolepsy

Pediatric Narcolepsy

For more information, check Clinical Trials and Disorders on main menu at top.

If you use CPAP . . .

Please be aware that CPAP equipment wears out. You should consider replacing your mask, headgear and hoses about every 6 months.


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