The dangers of driving drowsy


Many people are on the road this time of year driving from one celebration to the next. But one thing to keep in mind before you even get behind the wheel is how much sleep you’re getting the night before your road trip. 59 News spoke with an officer from the Beckley Police Department about the dangers of drowsy driving.

When you’ve been on the road for hours and are just trying to get to the party on time, the last thing you might want to do is pull over if you’re feeling tired. But that’s exactly what Mary Anne Adkins does, especially when she’s traveling with family.

“When I’m tired, my husband and I always take turns and if we ever feel the need to change up we always just take the responsibility and take turns. If I’m by myself then I’ll just pull over and rest,” said Adkins, holiday driver.

She says the help is invaluable during the busiest time of the year. “It’s a great help if you take turns, have good conversation and always have the music on,” Adkins added. 

But unlike Adkins, many people choose instead to power through their road trip when they’re feeling sleepy. It’s a decision that could turn deadly. According to a recent report by the Triple A Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. The study says people who skip just two or three hours of sleep more than quadruple their risk of a crash compared to drivers getting the recommended seven hours of sleep.

Even though the data is startling, it’s a problem that’s easy to fix. “At the first sign that you’re feeling tired you need to pull over. There’s no sense in putting yourself in harms way or the other drivers on the road in harms way just to get wherever you’re going,” said Sgt. Jamie Wilhite with the Beckley City Police.

Symptoms of drowsy driving can range anywhere from drifting from your lane, having difficulty focusing, or having trouble remembering the last few miles driven

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