Overly tired drivers cause accidents; near accidents

There's No Substitute for Experience

A recent study suggests that driver fatigue leads to more accidents than once thought. In fact, it is believed that a driver being overly tired is the cause of 20 percent of all accidents. This means there are drivers in Tennessee who are in direct risk of getting into a car accident due to another driver not getting enough rest.

To get to this 20 percent, researchers conducted a 100 car study meant to observe drivers in their natural states. These driving behaviors were captured through cameras, video channels, radars, lane-tracking software, accelerometers and sensors. The idea is that these devices allowed for drivers to be observed without equipment in their faces, which could have skewed some of their natural driving behaviors.

It should be noted that while it is referred to as a 100-car naturalistic driving study, since some of those recruited to the study did have family members, there were cases where friends and family members were also driving the vehicles. Data was collected on these additional drivers.

From the study it was found that fatigue appeared to be a factor in 20 percent of all crashes and 16 percent of all near accidents.

In order to get to these percentages, researchers reviewed 10,548 events. These included 82 crashes, 761 near crashes and 8,259 incidents such as hard braking for traffic that slowed down. In general, hard braking for slowed or stopped traffic is often a sign of slowed reaction time due to being tired.

In addition to learning fatigued driving is a serious problem, the study also found tired driving affects a large number of younger drivers between the ages of 18 and 20. The idea behind this is that this is the age group staying up later than children, but still having to get up early for school. This in turn can lead to being tired during the day.

Overall, this study points to the importance of getting enough sleep and never driving while tired. Even if the trip is not particularly long, all it takes is for the eyes to be shut for a few moments for an accident to occur.

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