Driving sleep deprived is extremely dangerous! Many teens drive after sleepless nights or with chronic sleep deprivation. Fatigue slows reaction time, reduces alertness, can blur vision and make defensive driving very difficult. There is also the possibility of falling asleep behind the wheel. It is not just bad drivers that fall asleep behind the wheel; good drivers do it, too. Crashes that result from the driver falling asleep at the wheel are usually more serious because the driver does not awake in time to slow down or take corrective action. Every year, falling asleep while driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 40,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.*
Nobody plans on falling asleep and crashing into another vehicle or tree, but people make mistakes. Most teens usually don't recognize the warning signs for being too drowsy to drive. Caution your teen about the deadly effects of driving fatigued. Driving while fatigued jeopardizes your life and the lives of everyone on the road. Many people try to overcome drowsiness by turning up the radio, opening the window, eating, etc., but none of these quick fixes are effective. They may make you more awake for about two minutes, but then you are back where you started. The best thing to do is to pull over on the side of the road and take a short 20-minute nap.
*National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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