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Drowsy Driving More Widespread Than Previously Measured

A new study finds the percentage of crashes involving drowsiness is nearly eight times higher than federal estimates

Drowsy driving is one of the most under-reported traffic safety issues because it’s been difficult to detect. For this report, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety used dash cam video footage, studying the three minutes of drivers’ faces leading up to a crash. Daniel Armbruster is with AAA Texas.

“A little over 3500 drivers were recruited. They were monitored continuously using in-vehicle cameras and other data-collection equipment — a total of 905 severe, moderate and minor crashes.”

Armbruster says knowing the warning signs of drowsiness can help drivers avoid dozing off behind the wheel, such as drifting from your lane or not remembering the last few miles driven.

“Traveling at times of day when you’re normally awake, you avoid heavy foods, avoid medications that can cause drowsiness, and if you’re going on a long trip make sure you schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles, and make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep before you hit the road.”

Even though a majority of drivers view drowsy driving as a serious threat, about a third admit to driving in the past month when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open.

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