News Center > Entergy Arkansas: Be Wary of Drowsy Driving as DST Ends
Entergy Arkansas: Be Wary of Drowsy Driving as DST Ends
Imagine on the drive home from work, your eyelids droop and your head starts to nod. Yawning becomes almost constant, and your vision seems blurry. You blink hard, focus your eyes, and suddenly realize that you’ve veered onto the shoulder or into oncoming traffic for a moment and quickly straighten the wheel.
This time you were lucky; next time you could become the latest victim of a drowsy driving tragedy along with anyone else in harm’s way.
Daylight Saving Time comes to an end this weekend, and National Road Safety Foundation studies prove auto accidents increase after the clocks fall back an hour. Darkness will fall earlier in the evening when traffic peaks, as many are making their way home from work. Besides the lack of visibility, the NRSF notes that commuting in the dark can also make drivers drowsier than usual.
Drowsy driving is a factor in more than 300,000 crashes every year, causing more than 5,000 deaths, 109,000 injuries and more than $30 billion in losses, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A study by the AAA puts those numbers even higher, claiming drowsy driving crashes have been under-reported by eight times.
Studies also show nearly two-thirds of motorists have driven while fatigued, and more than one third admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel. The Governors Highway Safety Association last year estimated more than 83 million sleep-deprived Americans were driving on a typical day.
Although drowsy driving is a common problem that may arise situationally in any driver who is sleep deprived, certain groups are recognized to be at higher risk that others for habitual drowsy driving:
- Young people, especially males under age 26
- Shift workers and people with long work hours-working the night shift increases your risk by nearly six times; rotating-shift workers and people working more than 60 hours a week need to be particularly careful
- Commercial drivers, especially long-haul drivers – at least 15% of all heavy truck crashes involve fatigue
- People with undiagnosed or untreated disorders - people with untreated obstructive sleep apnea have been shown to have up to a seven times increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel
- Business travelers who spend many hours driving or may be jet lagged
Entergy Arkansas makes safety its number one priority both on and off the job, in work or personal vehicles. These signs for employees to stop and rest can be helpful for any driver:
- 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
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
- Feeling restless and irritable
Experts with the NSRF say rolling down the windows and blasting the air conditioner are much less effective than simply finding a safe spot to pull over and take a break. Take a 20-minute nap or drink cup or two of coffee or a caffeinated snack and allow 30 minutes for the caffeine to enter the bloodstream. For more driving safety information, visit https://www.nrsf.org/resources/drowsy-driving.
ABOUT ENTERGY ARKANSAS
Entergy Arkansas provides electricity to approximately 722,000 customers in 63 counties. Entergy Arkansas is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR), an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy delivers electricity to three million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of $10 billion and approximately 12,500 employees.