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We’ve all been there. It’s late, we haven’t slept sufficient, and we’re cruising down a cold freeway wrapped in heat and white noise. Then, unexpectedly, we start to nod off. From right here, we will both spring again to a terrified state of consciousness that can maintain us the remainder of the journey or we will go to sleep and in the end destroy our car — and possibly ourselves — within the course of.

Drowsy driving is an actual drawback. However, whereas we’re all the time listening to about the way it’s simply as harmful as driving drunk, we don’t usually see statistics backing that up. That’s primarily as a result of it’s rather a lot tougher to evaluate somebody’s tiredness than it’s to present them a breathalyzer and toss them at the back of a squad automobile. However a 2014 research from the AAA Basis for Site visitors Security estimated drowsy drivers may contribute to 328,000 accidents yearly, with round 6,400 being deadly. 

That’s round 20 % of all vehicular deaths, based on AutoBlog, which turned us on to this matter within the first place.

So, what’s the answer? Nicely, no person has an ideal deal with on that proper now. Whereas some states have tried to make sleepy driving unlawful, it needs to be essentially the most troublesome crime to prosecute on this planet. In the event you’re pulled over for awful driving, underneath suspicion that you simply is likely to be too drowsy, odds are good that the sudden rush of adrenaline will perk you up a lot that the police wouldn’t have any concept you have been about to cozy as much as the sandman.

New York and Washington state have launched measures that will have made it a felony for a dozing driver to trigger a crash that kills somebody, however neither invoice has handed. Up to now, solely Arkansas and New Jersey have enacted such a regulation. Nevertheless, each states require that an individual be awake for a full 24-hour interval to be worthy of prison expenses. Along with being almost not possible to show in court docket, that’s additionally to date past the bounds of regular tiredness that it isn’t more likely to come up all that always.

The Governors Freeway Security Affiliation (GHSA) stated that Arkansas has solely yielded three convictions since 2013, when the regulation got here into impact. “We don’t have a sleep meter, like we’ve a breathalyzer, so it’s troublesome to acknowledge drowsy driving,” stated Pam Fischer, a guide for the GHSA. “It’s laborious to prosecute, laborious to make the case, and laborious to implement until the motive force readily admits it.”

Preventative measures could also be a superior resolution. Lots of states have included the dangers of fatigued motoring as obligatory a part of driver’s training and the Governors Freeway Security Affiliation has launched a marketing campaign to boost consciousness on a nationwide scale.

Having taken lots of in a single day drives, I can attest to roadside stops being a godsend. Along with not being as fraught with as a lot prison exercise as you would possibly assume, relaxation stops and repair facilities provide a spot the place you’ll be able to relaxation your eyes for just a few hours. Sadly, states like Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and South Dakota have closed a good portion of theirs as a consequence of budgetary restrictions or lack of use.

“Closing relaxation stops doesn’t assist with the drowsy driving drawback,” stated Fischer. “The one factor that helps you if you’re drained like that is to get sleep.”

They’re additionally one of many few methods to assist truckers adjust to federal legal guidelines limiting the variety of hours they’ll drive with out relaxation. Relying on payload and circumstances, truck drivers are required to relaxation each 11 to 14 hours and so they completely don’t need to should cease too early simply because their subsequent two pit stops have been closed to avoid wasting the state cash.

“Shutting them down could be the tip of an period,” stated Joanna Dowling, a historian who researches relaxation areas and runs the web site “Relaxation areas take you away from the highway and the hecticness of journey and immerse you within the pure panorama.”

In the long run, it’s as much as the person to not press on after they begin feeling sleepy. All the remainder areas on this planet aren’t useful if no person makes use of them.

[Image: Garrett/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)]

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