Drowsy railroad engineershave been the cause of train crashes. Investigators found that the engineers of a New Jersey Transit train that crashed into the Hoboken terminal on Sept. 29, 2016, and a Long Island Rail Road train that crashed at the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn on Jan. 4, 2017, suffered from undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that disrupts sleep repeatedly through the night and has been shown to cause daytime drowsiness. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says the common sleep disorder is likely what caused the train operators to nod off as they pulled into the stations.The same is true of automobile drivers! Sleepiness does cause and contribute to motor vehicle crashes; in fact, a higher percentage of fall-asleep crashes result in fatalities than those attributed to other causes. As more attention is paid to these crashes, the steps that can reduce these crashes need to be explored as well.
Reality Check: Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving!
Your ability to concentrate and focus is severely diminished as drowsiness sets in. Reaction time is impaired as you get drowsier. You may be likely to fall asleep! It is dangerous to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle when drowsy.
Be aware of signs of drowsy driving:
- Constant yawning
- Inability to keep one’s eyes open
- Restlessness and Irritability.
- Inability to focus on the road
- Inability to stay in one’s lane.
What can you do?
- Treat the sleep apnea to get a more restful sleep.
- Designate another driver if you feel drowsy.
Travel safely. Get to your destination alive and in good health.