Cheating sleep: Drowsy driving by teens can cause heartache - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Commentary

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Cheating sleep: Drowsy driving by teens can cause heartache

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2008 12:00 am

In this season, it might be tempting to think that poet Robert Frost had teens in mind when he wrote: "The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep."

Sound familiar?

Now, of course, Frost's traveler was on horseback, no doubt ameliorating some of today's concerns regarding drowsy young people driving automobiles - a significant problem among teens, according to new research from Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions).

Indeed, overscheduled, overstressed and overtired teens are a threat to themselves - and others - as they too often climb behind the wheel having had too little sleep.

For example, 36 percent of teen drivers say they frequently drive while tired in the morning. Perhaps more significant, they report getting an average of only 7.2 hours of sleep on school nights.

And that can have costly outcomes.

According to the survey, young people who get less than eight hours of sleep per night on average are twice as likely to say they have fallen asleep at the wheel (20 percent) than are teens who report getting an average of eight or more hours of sleep per night (10 percent).

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), which recently promoted Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, says the practice is an "under-reported and under-recognized public safety issue plaguing America's roadways," pointing out that it can be just as dangerous as impaired driving.

They may be onto something.

Drowsy driving causes more than 10,000 crashes each year, leading to 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Make no mistake about it, the combination of sleepiness, inexperience and a tendency to drive at night and in the early morning hours puts young adults at risk for drowsy driving crashes.

Just as frightening are some of the strategies teens say they employ to try to stay awake.

- Playing loud music (49 percent)

- Talking on a cell phone (22 percent)

- Speeding (11 percent)

- Text messaging (11 percent)

Other concerns about sleepy teens include the relationship between insufficient rest and obesity, depression, drug abuse and future cardiovascular disease, according to Byron J. Richards, a board-certified clinical nutritionist, who told NaturalNews.com, "Sleep problems in children and teens have reached a crisis level in America."

So, what's the remedy? More sleep.

The NSF recommends that teens should be getting between 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep to be fully rested. Others say the best number is even higher.

In either case, it sounds like a simple solution. In truth, it may be hard to achieve.

First of all, developmental prerogatives dictate that teens need more sleep than adults do - and just as their natural sleep rhythms shift to later cycles. In other words, during adolescence, teens are hard-wired to stay up later at night and sleep later in the morning. But, still, we torment them with early school starts and, often, morning commitments on weekends.

Thank goodness for the holidays!

But, then again, even though they may have more chance to rest, teens' holiday schedules remain cramped. And research suggests that holiday periods are particularly dangerous times of year on roads and highways.

What's a busy teen to do?

Here are a couple of tips from the NSF:

- Use the buddy system - ask your passenger to stay awake during the drive, to help keep you awake, and to share the driving responsibilities.

- If sleepiness sets in while driving, prevent a crash by pulling over to find a safe place to take a nap.

- Of course, mom and dad have a role to play, too. Liberty Mutual/SADD research reminds us that parents are the most influential voices in their teens' driving behaviors and that young people tend to drive more safely when they are presented with family driving rules that are enforced, such as minimum sleep requirements in order to drive: no driving after 10 p.m. and no cell phone use, including text messaging.

Unfortunately, "early to bed, early to rise" doesn't synch well with suddenly nocturnal teens who are balancing late nights, early mornings and jam-packed schedules. They want to do it all, but our job is to help them regulate competing demands in a way that keeps them safe behind the wheel.

Especially when they have miles to go before they sleep.

 

Stephen Wallace, national chairman of Students Against Destructive Decisions, has broad experience as a school psychologist and adolescent counselor. For more information about SADD, visit http://www.sadd.org/">www.sadd.org.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Road Trip! 5 Tips to Make Your Weekend Getaway Perfect!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RoadTripOil #CollectiveBias While ta…

Published: July 28, 2016 - 4:53 am @ http://coachdebbieruns.com/weekend-getaway/

More Hot, Dry Weather Expected Near Big Sur Blaze

(BIG SUR, California) — Firefighters are bracing for hotter weather and lower humidity in the area near Big Sur where a wildfire has destroyed…

Published: July 28, 2016 - 2:52 am @ http://time.com/4427969/firefighters-brace-for-hot…

Tropical Storm Mirinae barrels across southwest China

Tropical Storm Mirinae has hit China's Hainan province with damaging winds and flooding rains. It is the third tropical storm to hit China thi…

Published: July 28, 2016 - 12:21 am @ http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/07/tropical-sto…

Body-camera video shows fatal police shooting in Ariz.

WINSLOW, Ariz. — Body-camera footage released by the city of Winslow on Wednesday shows the seconds leading up to the fatal shooting of a 27-y…

Published: July 27, 2016 - 11:51 pm @ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016…

Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

Print Dodging Costs and Power Cuts, Tanzanian Firms Profit From Solar Drive Facebook's Solar-powered Internet Drone Takes Flight Solar Plane C…

Published: July 27, 2016 - 11:23 pm @ http://www.voanews.com/content/uganda-unveils-its-…

Team Canada sending 313 athletes to Rio Olympics

The Canadian Olympic Committee has announced Canada's full 313-athlete team for the Rio Olympics. Canada's contingent is made up of 187 women …

Published: July 27, 2016 - 11:21 pm @ http://olympics.cbc.ca/news/article/canadian-olymp…

Living a Fit and Full Life: 1byone 24W Portable Solar Charger with 2 USB Ports Review

1byone 24W Foldable Solar Charger with 2 USB Ports High Solar Cell Efficiency:  The 24-watt high-efficiency solar panel generates a power conv…

Published: July 27, 2016 - 11:20 pm @ http://www.livingafitandfulllife.com/2016/07/1byon…

Minnesota in a Box: To Get You to Visit, the State Will Now Visit You First

Take a vacation to Minnesota? Nah, it's too cold and dreary with all that snow and dreary-ness. Brrr… To combat this common misperception, Exp…

Published: July 27, 2016 - 10:21 pm @ http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/minnesota-box-get-yo…

Turkey shuts down dozens of media organisations

STEPS FOR DISABLING AD BLOCKERDriving in Canada Canada - a home away from home Canada, it's time to change! Living with a disability in Indo-C…

Published: July 27, 2016 - 10:21 pm @ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-ea…

Daniel Johnston's Amazing Life Is Now A Batshit Graphic Novel

Born in Salamanca, Spain, and now based in Barcelona, Ricardo Cavolo is an illustrator and muralist who has won international acclaim for his …

Published: July 27, 2016 - 10:22 pm @ http://www.thefader.com/2016/07/27/daniel-johnston…

Facebook

ahwatukee.com on Facebook

Twitter

ahwatukee.com on Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to ahwatukee.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px

Most Popular

Online poll

Loading…