LITITZ, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s not something she’s proud of, but Alice Bracken of Lititz admits she’s driven while drowsy. “I smacked myself in the face very hard to keep myself awake,” Bracken recalled. “That’s very, very dangerous, so I don’t do it anymore.”
New research from AAA shows drivers who miss two to three hours of sleep more than quadruple their risk of getting in a wreck. Federal regulators claim the crash risk from drowsy driving is comparable to drunk driving.
Lititz police Officer Cameron Burke wasn’t surprised when ABC27 News told him about the study. “It almost makes sense,” he said. “It essentially could go hand in hand.”
- The dangers of driving while drowsy
- AAA study: 87 percent admit to unsafe behaviors while driving
- Poll: 60% of drivers say they’ve driven while drowsy
- Report finds Mass. drivers taking risks on the road
Burke said a third of the crashes in Lititz in the past three months could be traced back to drivers who dozed off at the wheel.
Doctors who track sleep told ABC27 that every lost hour of shuteye results in a big negative impact on their motor skills.
“If you are tired, get off the road,” Burke suggested. “If you need to pull off to the side of the road and take a nap, get a hotel room, stay somewhere for the night.”
Burke said police can cite drivers who fall asleep behind the wheel. “Use common sense,” he said. “If you are tired, don’t drive.”
Burke said passengers need to make sure their driver is awake and alert.