The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that approximately 100,000 police-reported crashes annually (about 1.5 percent of all crashes) involve drowsiness or fatigue as a principal causal factor. A conservative estimate of related fatalities is 1,500 annually or 4 percent of all traffic crash fatalities. At least 71,000 people are injured in fall-asleep crashes each year. The economic costs are immense: NHTSA estimates that these crashes represent $12.5 billion in monetary losses each year.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STAY ALERT WHILE DRIVING:
- Sleep/take naps: Your best bet is to get enough sleep every day. If you must stay up late, afternoon naps are a great way to get more sleep. If you feel drowsy while driving, a 15-minute nap can be very effective. Make sure to pull over in a safe place.
- Caffeine: Avoid caffeine during the last half of your workday as it may contribute to sleeping problems. You can gain short-term alertness by drinking coffee or other caffeine sources if driving, but it usually takes 30 minutes to take affect and wears off after a few hours.
- Regular stops: You should stop every 100 miles or 2 hours. Switch drivers if you can.
- Avoid Alcohol: If you have been drinking, please don’t drive! In addition to being illegal, alcohol makes you sleepy and amplifies your fatigue.
At many intersections in New York State, governed by traffic lights, you may make a right turn when the light is red. You must come to a complete stop, check the intersection for vehicles and pedestrians, and proceed to make a right turn when it is safe to do so.
- Turning right on red is prohibited in cities with a population of more than one million unless a sign permits it.
- Turning right on red is prohibited if a sign at the intersection prohibits it.
Use the “TWO SECOND RULE.”
Choose an object near or above the road ahead. As the vehicle ahead passes it, count aloud, slowly, “one thousand one, one thousand two.” If you reach the object before you finish counting, you are following too closely. Allow the other vehicle to get further ahead. In bad weather, increase the count to three or four seconds for extra space.