Drowsy Driving

By: Sarah Stokes
By: Sarah Stokes

THE LACK OF ENERGY SOME EXPERTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THIS HOLIDAY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A POWER PLANT.
WITH THE HOLIDAYS WEIGHING HEAVILY ON OUR MINDS, WE'RE DRAINED... AND COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE TOO... COMING OFF OF FINAL EXAMS. BUT AS THEY HEAD HOME TO MOM AND DAD... SOME WILL NO DOUBT BE DRIVING DROWSY... AND STUDIES ARE SHOWING THEY COULD BE DEALING WITH DOUBLE THE DANGER.
THIS IS THE LAST TIME KIP STEARNS WILL DRIVE HOME FROM COLLEGE. "I'M OFFICIALLY GRADUATED, HE SAID."
HE'S GOT THREE AND A HALF HOURS TO GO... BUT AS HE STUFFS HIS BACKSEAT. HIS ONLY WORRY SHOULDN'T BE IF HE'LL HAVE ENOUGH ROOM... RATHER WILL HE HAVE ENOUGH ENERGY TO MAKE THE TRIP. " NOT SO TIRED THAT I'D BE DRIVING UNSAFELY," HE CLAIMS. BUT HE ADMITS... HE HAS IN THE PAST.
"YEP, I'D HAVE TO SAY SO... NOT WHAT I PREFER SOMETIMES IT'S UNAVOIDABLE, STEARNS SAID. THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION SHOWS TWO-THIRDS OF THE 56,000 DROWSY DRIVING CRASHES INVOLVE PEOPLE UNDER THIRTY.
" IT'S A VERY PREVALENT PROBLEM AND CAN LEAD TO DEATH," SAYS DR. TONY KIDESS IS A SLEEP SPECIALIST AT UW-EAU CLAIRE'S MEDICAL CENTER. HE SAYS CAFFEINE MIGHT MAKE YOU MORE ALERT, BUT ISN'T POWERFUL ENOUGH.
"CAFFEINE IS NOT ENOUGH TO COUNTERACT SLEEP DEPRIVATION," SAID KIDESS. OBVIOUSLY, NOT JUST COLLEGE STUDENTS NEED TO BE AWARE OF DRIVING DROWSY. NEARLY 40 PERCENT OF DRIVERS SURVEYED ADMIT TO FALLING ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL. 60 PERCENT SAY IT HAPPENED ON AN INTERSTATE. AND THE NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL STATISTICS SHOW DEATH RATES ON THE ROAD ARE TWO AND A HALF TIMES HIGHER AT NIGHT VERSUS DURING THE DAY... PROVING DROWSY DRIVING IS DEADLY. ACCORDING TO
DR. KIDESS, DRIVERS WHO ARE TIRED, "JUST AS IMPAIRED AS LEGALLY INTOXICATED." DR. KIDESS SAYS YOUR BODY WON'T GIVE YOU MUCH WARNING BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. "IF YOU START FEELING DROWSY MAY NOT BE ANOTHER SIGN BEFORE YOU FALL ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL."
IF YOU NOTICE YOURSELF BECOMING RESTLESS BEHIND THE WHEEL, IF YOU CAN'T REMEMBER THE LAST FEW MILES AND OR IF YOUR EYES AREN'T FOCUSING WELL, YOU HAVE THE SIGNS OF A DROWSY DRIVER. DR. KINESS SAYS THE BEST AND ONLY REMEDY IS TO PULL OVER AND TAKE A NAP.


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