Drivers: You’re Sharing the Road with Speeding Zombies
A third of us are guilty of very drowsy driving, and half of drivers speed, a new survey reveals
We don’t mean “real” zombies, but you should still be scared.
According to a new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, one in three drivers admitted that in the past 30 days, they had driven while so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open. And 22 percent fessed up to doing it more than once in that time.
Drowsy driving is a factor in about 328,000 crashes a year, according to the AAA Foundation. Of those crashes, 109,000 lead to injuries and 6,400 are fatal.
Obviously, many of us are just not getting enough shuteye. A third of American adults sleep for less than seven hours each night, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Some drivers also may be feeling the effects of sleeping pills. In a study published last year, University of Washington researchers found taking commonly prescribed sedative sleeping pills nearly doubled — or in the case of one drug, more than doubled — the risk of a car accident.
Being tired apparently doesn't stop us from speeding. About half of drivers reported going 15 miles per hour more than the posted speed limit on a highway at least once in the last month. And 45 percent said they traveled 10 miles per hour more than the speed limit on a residential road. The NHTSA says 10,000 traffic deaths a year are attributed to speeding.
More bad habits many drivers share
The AAA study showed almost all of us do something risky behind the wheel.
Distracted driving. About 70 percent of drivers say they talk on the phone while driving, and one in five drivers say they do it regularly. More than 40 percent of drivers admit to reading a text or email, while 32 percent admit to typing one. Distracted driving is a factor in at least 3,000 traffic-related deaths a year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Not wearing a seatbelt. About one in five drivers claim they don’t wear a seatbelt. The NHTSA says half of drivers killed in car accidents aren’t wearing seatbelts.
Drinking and driving. About 13 percent of drivers admit to driving when their blood alcohol content level was near or above the legal limit, AAA reports. Nearly 10,000 people each year are killed each year in drunken driving crashes, according to the NHTSA.
Running a red light. Almost 40 percent of drivers confess to driving through a traffic light that just turned red when they could have stopped instead. In 2013, 127,000 people were injured in crashes that involved running a red light, according to the NHTSA.
"I'm a safer driver than you" — not
Just like most people believe they're a better driver than the next guy, most people believe they're a safer driver, too.
“There is a culture of indifference for far too many drivers when it comes to road safety,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, in a press release. “The vast majority of motorists believe they are more careful than others on the road, though most of them are not making safe decisions while behind the wheel. We’re asking every driver to make responsible decisions to make the roads safer for everyone.”
Related: 8 Driving Tips for People with ADHD
Like this article? Share it with friends by clicking the Facebook or Twitter button below. And don't forget to visit our Facebook page!