By: Lisa Johnson
On Wednesday, April 8 just after ten o’clock in the morning a man driving on Hardwick’s Creek, fell asleep at the wheel. The Maysville man’s vehicle came to rest under a telephone pole just feet from plunging into the creek. He was alert and out of the car when first responders arrived.
He is lucky to be alive, driving while drowsy is incredibly dangerous. According to the CDC The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013. However, these numbers are underestimated, and up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year may be caused by drowsy drivers.
The Sleep Foundation says that drowsy driving is extremely dangerous. Sleep deprivation can have similar effects on the body as drinking alcohol. Being awake for 18 hours or more essentially has the same effect as a blood alcohol level of .05 (for reference .08 the legal limit). Someone who has been awake for a full 24 hours and driving is similar to driving with a blood alcohol level of .10.
It’s important to recognize the signs of drowsiness before getting behind the wheel of a car. If you are yawning or blinking frequently, having difficulty remembering the past few miles driven, have missed your exit, keep drifting from your lane or hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road it may be a good idea to pull over for a quick nap or to stop somewhere for a cup of coffee.
Being fifteen minutes late to your destination is better than not arriving at all.