More than 40 percent of drivers say they've fallen asleep at the wheel, and about one in ten admitted doing so during the past year, according to a study released Monday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a nonprofit research and educational organization. One in every six deadly car crashes results from a fatigue-impaired driver, estimates the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That's compared to about one in three caused by a drunk driver. "Sleepiness decreases awareness, slows reaction time, and impairs judgment, just like drugs or alcohol," said AAA Foundation President Peter Kissinger.
If you are traveling with your family for the holidays, make sure you get sufficient rest prior to the trip. Even shorter trips of 2 to 4 hours can be deadly if you are not rested. Just as importantly, drive defensively and be watchful of other drivers who may be fatigued. Tractor-trailers present a greater danger when their drivers are fatigued and many of them are also trying to get home for the holidays after a long haul and tempted to drive longer than is safe.
Keep a close lookout for tractor-trailers and be aware that fatigued tractor-trailer drivers will react more slowly to dangers and are more slow to recognize dangers. Avoid their blind spots. If passing a tractor-trailer, be careful not to linger in their blind spot more than necessary. The blind spot is the point where your car becomes invisible to his mirrors. Tractor-trailers often have larger blind spots than automobiles. If you look at his rear view mirrors and can't see the driver's face, you could be in the blind spot.
Remember these rules and keep your family safe for this holiday weekend.