2006-12-08 / Community

Drinking And Driving Makes For An Unhappy Holiday

Most people are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving but don't realize that drowsy driving can be just as fatal. Like alcohol, sleepiness slows reaction time, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and increases your risk of crashing.

"Anyone could be at risk of being a drowsy driver," stated Krista Conte, Allstate Spokesperson in New York. "It is important that we all take the proper precautions when we get behind the wheel to protect our lives, and the lives of those driving around us."

If you are a passenger in a vehicle, Allstate Insurance Company and DrowsyDriving.org shares warning signs that you should tell the driver of the car to stop and rest.

If the driver has difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids.

If the driver is daydreaming; or having wandering/disconnected thoughts.

Is the driver having trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs?

Is the driver yawning repeatedly or rubbing their eyes?

Is the driver having trouble keeping his or her head up?

Is the driver drifting from the lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip?

Does the driving seem to be feeling restless and irritable?

If you are the driver, are you at risk?

Are you sleep-deprived or fatigued (6 hours of sleep or less triples your risk)?

Are you suffering from sleep loss (insomnia), poor quality sleep, or a sleep debt?

Are you driving long distances without proper rest breaks?

Are you driving through the night, mid-afternoon or when you would normally be asleep?

Are you taking sedating medications (antidepressants, cold tablets, antihistamines)?

Are you working more than 60 hours a week (increases your risk by 40%)?

Are you driving alone or on a long, rural, dark or boring road?

The best approach for being safe on the road is to make sure to get adequate rest before you drive. If you begin to feel drowsy, take a break, or ask one of your passengers to take the wheel. The New York State Health Department suggests opening a window and turning up the radio to keep you more alert, if this doesn't help, they suggest asking someone to come and pick you up.

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