June is National Safety Month; to kick off the month to a good start we are going to discuss different aspects of roadway safety. Not only does safe driving save lives and reduce car accidents, not having an accident and being a safe driver can save you on your car insurance costs.
One of the biggest concerns for risky behaviors behind the wheel is driving while intoxicated. But what about if you’re feeling drowsy? Drunk driving gets a lot of attention across Florida and even the nation, but drowsy driving can be just as dangerous to do.
According to the National Safety Council, drowsy, or tired, drivers are three times as likely as an alert driver to get into or cause a car accident. Nearly 90,000 car accidents—every year—are attributed to a tired driver behind the wheel in at least one of the vehicles involved (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
Drowsy driving is similar to driving while under the influence. Drivers who are tired:
Drowsy drivers may also unknowingly fall asleep for short periods of time while driving—called microsleeps—where their brain is actually unconscious and then jerk back awake. These microsleeps may only last for a few seconds (2-6) but it only takes seconds for a vehicle to go the length of a football field. It is easy for an accident to occur during those microsleeps when a driver is unable to respond to a vehicle’s sudden breaking, another vehicle swerving into their lane, or a pedestrian to step into the road.
Driving while drowsy can occur at any time—not just at night. If you are tired while driving—during the day or at night—you should pull over at a rest area or other well-lit facility to rest or get out and stretch or move around to bring back your alertness. You should also follow these other tips while driving at night to stay alert and safe.
Driving while fully awake and alert is vital to driving safely and there are a few other things a good driver is known for. Car insurance companies often reward their good drivers through rate reductions and good driver discounts—so it can literally pay to be a safe driver!