powered by centersite dot net
Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Health Tip: Plan for a Heat WaveGivers Really Are Happier Than TakersHealth Tip: Think Smart During a Hot SpellHow Safe and Effective Is Your Sunscreen?For Drivers, Hands-free Can Still Be a HandfulIt's Never Too Soon to Safeguard Your BonesImpact of Video Games on Brain Varies With Game Type, Strategy'Loneliness Epidemic' Called a Major Public Health ThreatNeed to Calm Down? Try Talking to YourselfJust Thinking You're Less Active May Shorten Your LifeHealth Tip: Protect Your Skin at WorkGolfing and Gardening Your Way to FitnessTeaching an Old Brain New TricksCan't Get to the Gym? Work Out in Your Office!The Scoop on Avoiding 'Brain Freeze'How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?Healthy Heart in 20s, Better Brain in 40s?Health Tip: Getting Too Much Sun?Health Tip: Protect Your Eyes During SummerHealth Tip: Check the Water Before SwimmingFlip-flops: Fun in the Sun, but Tough on FeetWhen Opinions Threaten FriendshipsBetter Diet, Longer Life?Health Tip: If Lifestyle Interferes With SleepDocs Should Counsel Even Healthy People on Diet, Exercise, Experts SayDaily Jolt of Java May Bring Longer LifeHealth Tip: When Air Quality is PoorKeep Your Summer Cookouts SafeMany Parts of the World Lack Soap for Hand-WashingHealth Tip: Yoga Before BedGetting Over GuiltHealth Tip: When Summer Heat Gets IntenseDon't Let Summer Strain Your BackFor Many, Friends Are Key to Happiness in Old AgePresence of Smartphone Cuts Available Cognitive CapacityProtect Your Skin From the Summer SunHealth Tip: Create a Food-and-Activity JournalHow to Dodge Summertime ThreatsHealth Tip: Basic Beach SafetyHealth Tip: Are You Well Enough to Travel?Health Tip: Want Healthier Lungs?Tips to Curb Nighttime EatingExtreme Heat in Southwest a Deadly ThreatMany Americans May Be Taking Too Much Vitamin DHow to Beat Jet Lag This Summer VacationAmericans Want to Be Fit, But Most Don't Put in the EffortWith Climate Change, More Deadly Heatwaves Will StrikeAre U.S. Teens Now as Inactive as 60-Year-Olds?Summer Fun Is Not Without HazardsHappy Marriage, Healthier Spouses
VideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management
Emotional Resilience

How Not to Nod Off Behind the Wheel

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: May 20th 2017

new article illustration

SATURDAY, May 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- At least one in five fatal motor vehicle accidents involves drowsy driving, U.S. traffic safety experts say. So it's vital that you recognize when you're sleepy behind the wheel.

"The statistics are pretty jarring. Compared to drivers who report typically getting seven or more hours of sleep nightly, those who typically sleep only four to five hours per night are 5.4 times more likely to be involved in a crash," said Benjamin McManus, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"Drowsy driving can be considered a form of distracted driving. Like in distracted drivers, [mental] resources are directed away from the task of driving in drowsy drivers," McManus said in a university news release.

Signs of sleepiness while driving include increased blinking; longer blink duration; slower eye movement; swerving; slowed reaction time; and poor decision-making.

Falling asleep while stopped in traffic or at a traffic light are dead giveaways that you're too tired to drive.

"Recognizing the signs is the first step in prevention," McManus said. Next, you can try a few different tactics to help stay awake, he suggested.

These include stopping and taking a nap; drinking a caffeinated beverage; or boosting alertness by adjusting the radio, opening a window, or talking with passengers.

Although these actions can help, they aren't necessarily perfect solutions, McManus noted.

"Ceasing driving to take a nap may be the best of these commonly implemented countermeasures, as naps have been shown to reduce driving impairment in such situations," McManus said. "Research tells us that, as a supplement to sleep, naps can be effective for maintaining sustained attention, learning and memory."

According to McManus, research shows that a minimum of seven hours of sleep is associated with safe driving. However, many people don't manage to get that much shuteye.

"A culture change regarding the importance of sleep might make the biggest impact of all. Currently, we tend to view sleep as one of the first things to sacrifice when we face impending deadlines or busy schedules. Recognizing just how dangerous drowsy driving can be is an important step in making us all safer on the road," he concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more on drowsy driving.