Friday May 17th, 2024 9:44PM

The Fast Lane: Dangers of driving while drowsy

By Caleb Hutchins

While the dangers of drunk driving and distracted driving are widely known, there is another risk that can be just as dangerous: driving while drowsy.

"The dangers of drowsy driving almost mimic impaired driving," Hall County Sheriff's Lt. Todd Casper said. "When someone is driving drowsy, they of course have no reaction, no breaking, no steering input or things of that nature."

Casper said while studies show that drowsy driving can be responsible for at least 700 deaths in America every year, the numbers may be higher than that. He said the statistics are difficult to track because drowsy driving fatalities are often single-car crashes, preventing investigators from finding out exactly what caused the accident.

He said most drowsy driving crashes happen during what he called "micro-naps" where a person falls asleep for just a few seconds, which when driving at high speeds is enough to cause serious accidents.

"Your fatalities, your injuries, your wrecks during that time period are generally between midnight and 6:00 a.m.," Casper said. "We tell people during hours that you normally sleep, be mindful of the fact that if you're driving during these hours, you're going to have problems."

He said drowsy driving can happen at all hours of the day, though, depending on people's personal work or school schedules. While the first step to preventing falling asleep at the wheel is avoiding driving during those known problem hours, Casper also said there are things a driver should do if they feel they are becoming too sleepy.

"Studies have shown if you pull over, get out of the car, get something to drink and walk around for a few minutes, this will typically allow you to, a lot of times, complete your trip," Casper said.


To hear from Hall County Sheriff's Lt. Todd Casper about drowsy driving, click play on the audio above.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: wdun, hall county sheriff's office, Road safety, The Fast Lane
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