By Boy Scouts of America
Aug 06, 2016

Safety Share: Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving, or sometimes as it is known, death by zzzzzz, is one of the most serious risks a Scout can encounter on any trip. Think back to your last camp out and that is where this Safety Share begins at the 

What is the Risk Zone?

Dri­ving tired and dri­ving dis­tracted are both ways into the Zone. Each does one of three things:

  1. Take your eyes off the road.
  2. Take your hands off the steer­ing wheel.
  3. Take your mind off what you are doing.

There is one way out: focus your atten­tion on dri­ving.

Drowsy Driving

Stop… Did You Know? Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates the following:

  • 100,000 crashes are a direct result of fatigue annu­ally
  • result­ing 1,550 fatal­i­ties
  • 71,000 injuries
  • $12.5 bil­lion in mon­e­tary losses

Also con­sider these sober­ing sta­tis­tics:

  • Stud­ies show that being awake for more than 18 hours results in an impair­ment of your men­tal fac­ul­ties equal to a blood alco­hol level of .05.
  • If you are awake for 20 hours, that becomes equiv­a­lent to a blood alco­hol level of .08 (which is enough to get a per­son con­victed of a DUI).

dont-drive-drowsy-300x139Drowsy is defined as “ready to fall asleep; inducing sleep.” By the very def­i­n­i­tion, when you are drowsy you are going to fall asleep!Dri­vers are gen­er­ally poor judges of their own level of fatigue and unable to pre­dict when they are indan­ger of falling asleep at the wheel.At the LDS-BSA blog they cited these signs “…exam­ple of the drive home from Scout camp, there are sev­eral signs that it is time for a dri­ver to stop and rest or to change dri­vers:

  • Dif­fi­culty focus­ing, fre­quent blink­ing, or heavy eye­lids
  • Day­dream­ing; wandering/disconnected thoughts
  • Trou­ble remem­ber­ing the last few miles dri­ven; miss­ing exits or traf­fic signs
  • Yawn­ing repeat­edly or rub­bing your eyes
  • Trou­ble keep­ing your head up
  • Drift­ing from your lane, tail­gat­ing, or hit­ting a shoul­der rum­ble strip
  • Feel­ing rest­less and irri­ta­ble

If you notice any of these signs while dri­ving, it is much bet­ter to stop in a safe place and rest than it is to con­tinue dri­ving. Turn­ing on the radio or open­ing the win­dow are not effec­tive means of keep­ing you alert.”

Stay out of the Zone by being Risk Ready

risk zoneThe fol­low­ing reme­dies should  help you and your Scouts be “Risk Ready”

  • When plan­ning a trip each per­son should “plan” for sleep. This is espe­cially impor­tant
    for the return trip home.
  • Start out well rested. Before a trip, the more sleep the bet­ter!  Get 7–9 hours the night before your return.
  • Sched­ule proper breaks while dri­ving-about every 100 miles or every two hours
  • The body craves sleep after dark, so try to do most of the dri­ving dur­ing day­light hours. Start your trip ear­lier in the day instead of later. Long-dis­tance dri­ving requires men­tal and phys­i­cal alert­ness
  • Arrange for a proper num­ber of adults to share dri­ving. Share the dri­ving.
  • Before leav­ing des­ig­nate licensed relief dri­vers. Have a “fresh” dri­ver avail­able for the drive home
  • Engage in light con­ver­sa­tion with a front seat pas­sen­ger.
  • Keep the tem­per­a­tures cool and adjust the car tem­per­a­ture so that it’s not too com­fort­able.
  • Stay involved with the dri­ving; do not use cruise con­trol.
  • Avoid sedat­ing med­ica­tions such as cold tablets, anti­his­t­a­mines and/or anti­de­pres­sants or other med­ica­tions that might cause drowsi­ness
  • Take the Risk Zone Driver’s PledgeRisk Zone Driver's Pledge
  • Per­haps most impor­tantly, if you feel tired while dri­ving (see signs above):
    • Stop dri­ving
    • Take a nap
    • Exchange dri­vers

risk zone
Author: contents contributed by: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Risk Management Division and Boy Scouts of America, Risk Management Division

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