The characteristics of sleep-induced crashes are: The crash is very serious, it is a high speed road, the vehicle goes off the road and the driver does not take evasive action.
REDUCE YOUR RISK OF DROWSINESS
Lifestyle Habits. Eat light. Exercise regularly. Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Every time you miss sleep, catch up immediately.
Plan Journeys. Before a trip, get a good night’s sleep. Leave early in the morning and stop driving around sunset, or as early as possible, to reduce night-time driving. Drive with a passenger who can alert you to fatigue, talk to you, and share the driving. Schedule stops every 100 miles or two hours. Hunger can make you angry and turn you into an aggressive driver. Don’t eat junk or high-fat foods. Keep caffeinated and sugar-laden snacks in the car for short-term energy. Chocolate covered espresso beans can help you make it to the next rest area.
Direct Intervention. Recognize and don’t ignore symptoms of drowsiness. Pull over to a safe rest area; stop for a break, a 20-minute nap, or for the night. Two cups of coffee take 30 minutes to enter your bloodstream, then provide short term alertness.
Don’t drink alcohol or take medications.
Drowsiness is a condition most drivers fail to recognize, or believe they can overcome. Without enough sleep the body suffers from “sleep deficit,” which can only be overcome by SLEEP!
Sleepiness results from physical labor or working long hours; a progressive withdrawal of attention; interruptions of sleep; and untreated or unrecognized sleep disorders. Sleepiness is induced by repetitive actions of long distance drivers, driving without a break and by the stress of tough road conditions and bad weather. Heavy food, alcohol, sedatives, antidepressants and antihistamines induce sleep. Open windows and loud music do not reduce fatigue.