Young drivers more at risk for drowsy driving - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Young drivers more at risk for drowsy driving

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WEST QUINCY, Mo. (WGEM) -

You've heard about the dangers of texting and driving and drunk driving, but what about drowsy driving?

Between school, homework, sports and socializing with friends, Kids are busier than ever these days and that means they could be lacking sleep when they hit the road.

A AAA study says 1 in 7 drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 has admitted to nodding off at the wheel in the last year.

Ryan Mayes is a senior at South Shelby High School.

He stays busy with schoolwork, sports and friends and he says sometimes he finds himself nodding off at the wheel.

"I've been sleepy before driving. I try not to but sometimes you can't help it," said Mayes.

Mayes said there have been times when he has driven drowsy and nearly crashed his car.

"I've been driving before and I have probably dozed off before. Ran off the road a bit. The curb saved me," said Mayes.

Many states have installed rumbled strips like these to alert drowsy drivers.

Here is one more startling statistic, one in 6 fatal crashes is the result of drowsy driving in the U.S.

Mayes is not alone, senior Erica Milner said she decided to drive while sleep deprived once.

"I've only once been really, really tired where I felt like I wasn't able to drive," said Milner.

 Sergeant Brent Bernhardt with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said he sees drivers like Mayes and Milner on the road a lot.

"All of us have been behind a driver that at first indication we would think was impaired by alcohol or drugs only to find out that person was a drowsy driver," said Sergeant Brent Bernhardt of the Missouri Highway State Patrol.  

Bernhardt said the results of driving while being sleepy can lead to devastating consequences.

"We see a lot of traffic accidents where people fall asleep and run off the road or cross the center line and have a traffic crash with an oncoming vehicle and those are very dangerous traffic crashes," said Bernhardt.

Bernhardt said if you are feeling drowsy while driving, you should take a break.

"You need to pull over to the side of the road in a safe location and maybe get out and exercise a little bit until you feel rested to be able to be a good safe driver," said Bernhardt.  

 

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