The physical state of being drowsy or tired can severely compromise a motorist’s ability to function efficiently and safely while driving. The effects of driving drowsy are similar to those of drunk driving. While there are copious programs in place to educate motorists on the risks of drinking and driving, the dangers of drowsy driving are not as well known or publicized. This problem is compounded by the fact that it is more likely to affect younger drivers, specifically teens who are less experienced behind the wheel.
A recent case involved a high school senior just months away from graduation when he fell asleep at the wheel on a spring day in 2010. His car hit a tree and flipped repeatedly; killing him instantly. The teen’s mother continues to honor his memory by educating other teens and young drivers about the risks of driving tired.
Moreover, the teenager’s legacy lives on through an organization named after him, TyREDD, which stands for Tyler Raising Education about Driving Drowsy. TyREDD allows students and parents to access links and information about drowsy driving and learn how it can be prevented.
Educating Parents and Teen Drivers about Drowsy Driving
The National Healthy Sleep Awareness Program and the Healthy Sleep Project are also educating the public about the real risks of driving while fatigued and are encouraging parents to get involved with their young drivers and advocate for adequate nightly rest.
Young drivers and many others need up to nine hours of sleep for optimal driving alertness. Parents are urged to openly communicate with their children about the importance of consistent sleep schedules and are advised to restrict the amount of screen time their teens have before bed.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine affirms that drowsy driving is completely avoidable. The organization stresses the importance of educating young drivers that healthy sleep patterns lead to optimal daytime awareness.
Because of the high rate of drowsy driving accidents among teens, parents are advised to make the issue a priority and discuss with their children how to prevent drowsy driving, in tandem with discussions about how to prevent other threats on the road such as distracted driving and drunk driving.