You Snooze, You Lose … Don’t Drive Drowsy

Junior Charity Perry Talks Danger of Drowsy Driving

Charity Perry

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Junior Charity Perry takes a nap on her steering wheel. Perry talks about how drowsy driving affects Groom High School students, as well as adult drivers. Drowsy driving has led to 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries and 8,000 deaths in the past three years. During that same time period, drowsy driving has taken more lives than driving while intoxicated.

You hear these sentences quite often. “Drive Alert. Stay Unhurt,” or “Drive Alert. Arrive Alive.” What do these slogans actually mean, though?

Their message is clear: Don’t drive drowsy.

There are a lot of movies and commercials that include actors falling asleep while driving, but you don’t really think about the consequences until they happen to you.

Research on this topic shows these warning signs affect drivers. Those troublesome indicators include yawning or blinking frequently, drifting from your lane or hitting the rumble strip on the side of the road.

Not only are adults guilty of driving when they’re tired, but exhaustion takes its toll on the teenagers of Groom High School, too. They often stay out beyond curfew, or they get home from a school activity way late.

Have you ever wondered if you were too tired to drive?

Statistics show that teenagers should get at least eight hours of a sleep a night, but we know most get six, if they’re lucky. Not only should adults prevent themselves from driving drowsy, but perhaps parents should be making certain their teenage drivers are not too tired to get behind the wheel, too?

A couple of weeks ago, the cheerleaders and football players traveled to Follett for a football game. It’s about a three-hour bus ride there and back, so students didn’t get back to Groom until about 1 a.m.

Some students live in town and don’t have far to drive to reach their houses. But, others live outside of town and even must travel to different communities to get home.

“I usually just turn up the music really loud, and turn on the cold air (to stay awake),” junior Jamey Germany said. Germany and her family live in White Deer, but her and her older sister Leslie, drive to Groom every day for school.

“I’ve never been worried about falling asleep while driving,” Jamey said. “I’m usually really alert while driving home.”

Most of the girls on the cheerleading bus were asleep on the way home, but they all got up when the bus passed through Pampa. That’s when Jamey started singing to wake herself up so that she could drive home. After getting to Groom at 1 a.m Saturday morning, she had to load all of her gear into the car and then get on the 20-mile trip to her house.

Scientists have proven that just turning the radio up, or rolling windows down does not make you awake enough to drive. Most research says that drivers should pull over and take a 15- to 20-minute nap, stop, get out and go for a walk, or call someone to come and get you.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, people more likely to drive drowsy are those between the ages of 16 to 29 or adults with children in the household. Men also are almost twice more likely to fall asleep driving than women.

Drowsy driving has lead to 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries and 8,000 deaths in the past three years. During the same time period, drowsy driving also has taken more lives than driving while intoxicated.

Next time you’re driving, or you’re allowing your children to drive somewhere at night, or even during the day. Take into consideration how much sleep you have had.

Time to think.

Time to rest.

Both may ensure you still have time together.