Wake Up Call for Drowsy Drivers

Nov. 11, 2013

Drinking and driving, and texting and driving are problems parents frequently warn teens about. A new study from AAA suggests drowsy driving can be just as dangerous.

Seventeen-year-old James Jenkins knows just how serious drowsy driving can be after his friend was killed in a crash.

"It was a really bad accident, just from being tired and not stopping," Jenkins said.

Shelia Jones teaches teens how to drive every day, but one lesson she says they don't hear often enough is the dangers of drowsy driving.

"You would know if you got in the car and you had been drinking," said Jones. "It's very hard to notice when you are going to fall asleep. You don't know that."

According to a recent AAA study, one in four of the drivers surveyed reported driving tired in the last 30 days. AAA estimates that 17 percent of fatal crashes involved drowsy driving.

"Because you're tired you have delayed reaction, you don't realize you are swerving in and out the lane. You're not aware of all the mistakes you are making," Jones said.

Experts say the most important thing is to recognize when you're tired; if you're yawning a lot, or are having trouble focusing on the road.

Jenkins says knowing first-hand how dangerous driving tired can be has kept him alert.

"Go to a gas station, get some caffeine, get some fresh air. It really helps out a lot to refresh you,' Jenkins said.

Whether it's a quick nap or a cup of coffee, staying awake and alert are key to staying safe on the road.

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