Drowsy driving a bigger problem than you might think

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – We’ve already warned you about the dangers of driving drunk or driving under the influence of drugs but officials are now sending a new warning about driving, drowsy.

A new study by AAA has found that crashes involving drowsiness are nearly eight times higher than current estimates.

“It can happen to anybody. Your body will tell you when it’s getting tired but it won’t tell you when you’re going to asleep. You know you’re watch that movie and next thing you know, the movie’s over,” AAA Driving School Supervisor Pat Brown said.

AAA researchers studied dash cam video of everyday drivers in a months-long study. They found more than nine per cent of all crashes involve drowsiness – well above current federal estimates that put that number at only 2 per cent.

“Unfortunately, I know firsthand. My daughter’s best friend was killed,” Brown said. “He died in a drowsy driving – went off the road, crashed, and killed. So it happens more that people know. It doesn’t get reported in the news quite as much because they don’t always know that, at the time, that was a drowsy driving accident.”

Brown says if you’re ever driving and you feel yourself getting tired – pull over and take a quick 20 minutes power nap. It’s also a good idea to get a full night’s rests before big trips and to plan frequent stops along the way.

“You’re staring down the road or focusing on the car in front of you. Your eyes are blinking a little bit more. Your head nods, you’re drifting from side to side. Maybe you’re slowing down, speeding up – those are all signs that maybe you’re getting tired while you’re driving,” Brown said.

AAA says nearly 30 per cent of drivers admitted they had a hard time keeping their eyes open on the road at some point in the past month.

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