Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Drowsy Driving Puts Teens at Risk (The Today Show)

The Dangers of Drowsy Teen Drivers (The Today Show)

Drowsy driving puts teens at risk

Many teens heading back to school are sleep deprived as they drive to and from school, increasing their accident risk, U.S. researchers say.

David Reich, spokesman for the National Road Safety Foundation, says drowsy driving is a risky behavior common among young drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates more than 100,000 crashes every year are due to driver fatigue, resulting in more than 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries.

Reich says there are several signs that warn a driver to stop and rest:

-- Difficulty focusing and frequent blinking.

-- Daydreaming, not remembering the last few miles driven.

-- Head nodding.

-- Repeated yawning, rubbing eyes.

-- Drifting out of lane, tailgating, hitting rumble strips.

A driver who experiences any of these should pull over at the next exit or a safe rest area and take a break or a 20-minute nap, Reich suggests.

Have a cup of coffee or caffeinated snacks and allow 30 minutes for the caffeine to enter the bloodstream. Don't drink alcohol or take medication, Reich adds. Drowsy driving can be as fatal as drunk driving.