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1 in 7 young drivers fall asleep at the wheel

Young drivers often get criticised for their reckless driving habits, but new research has revealed the annoying little blighters may be swerving all over the road not because they’re inconsiderate, but because they’re fast asleep.

A surprising number of us have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel.
A surprising number of us have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel.

American breakdown service AAA and the folks behind the National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, have carried out a study that indicates one in seven drivers aged between 16 and 24 years old have admitted to falling asleep while behind the wheel at least once in the last year. That’s 14 per cent of kids… catching up on sleep… while driving… a car.

Worryingly, a far larger number, 30 per cent, also admitted they have driven while being tired enough that they struggled to stay awake in the last month alone. The poll also found about one in ten 16-45 year old drivers admit to driving while drowsy once or twice a week. Unsurprisingly, the AAA estimates that one in six deadly crashes involves a drowsy driver.

“People know that they shouldn’t text or drink when they drive, and that’s great,” commented David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation. “However, many don’t realize that driving while drowsy is also very dangerous. If you’re so tired that you can hardly keep your eyes open, you could fall asleep for just a few seconds and not realize it. If that happens at 65 miles an hour, you could drive the length of a football field in an unconscious state.”

The National Sleep Foundation has launched Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which runs from Novemnber 6th to 12th, as a reminder that sleepiness can impair drivers by causing slower reaction times, lapses in judgement, vision impairment and delays in processing information. It claims, and we’re far too knackered to argue with them, that being awake for more than 20 hours can result in an impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 per cent, the legal limit in the United States.

If you’re prone to dozing off at the wheel, do us all a favour: have a nap, then read this report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety to learn how to spot the signs of drowsiness and what course of action to take if you get a bit sleepy behind the…

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