Stay­ing safe on the road dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - OPINION -

With the start of the hit-the-high­way hol­i­day sea­son hav­ing just passed, but lots more to come, it’s time for a re­minder of the per­ils of drowsy and dis­tracted driv­ing.

AAA Mid-At­lantic re­ports that, ac­cord­ing to Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion statis­tics, fa­tigue causes more than 100,000 crashes a year re­sult­ing in 40,000 in­juries and 1,550 deaths.

AAA es­ti­mates that 30 per­cent of li­censed drivers have driven in the past 30 days when they were so tired that they strug­gled to keep their eyes open. In fact, one in 10 li­censed drivers con­fesses to hav­ing nod­ded off at the wheel at least once in the past year, and one in seven drivers be­tween the ages of 16 to 24 ad­mit­ted the same, mak­ing them the most at-risk group, the AAA says.

Rag­ina Averella, a spokes­woman for AAA Mid-At­lantic, com­pares drowsy driv­ing with more pub­li­cized drunk, drugged and dis­tracted driv­ing.

“Driv­ing while sleepy or fa­tigued can sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact driv­ing abil­ity, caus­ing slower re­ac­tion time, vi­sion im­pair­ment and lapses in judg­ment,” she wrote in a news re­lease.

To re­main alert and avoid drowsi­ness, AAA sug­gests:

• GHWWLnJ SOHnWy RI VOHHS (DW OHDVW VLx hRurV) WhH nLJhW be­fore a long trip;

• 6FhH­duOLnJ D ErHDN HvHry WwR hRurV Rr HvHry 100 miles;

• 7rDvHOLnJ DW WLPHV whHn yRu DrH nRrPDOOy DwDNH, and stay­ing overnight rather than driv­ing straight through; and

• 6WRS drLvLnJ LI yRu EHFRPH VOHHSy; VRPHRnH whR LV tired could fall asleep at any time.

Symp­toms of sleepi­ness in­clude but are not lim­ited to:

• HDvLnJ WrRuEOH NHHSLnJ yRur HyHV RSHn Dnd IR­cused; • 7hH LnDELOLWy WR NHHS yRur hHDd uS; • DDy­drHDPLnJ Rr hDvLnJ wDndHrLnJ, dLVFRn­nHFWHd thoughts; and

• DrLIWLnJ IrRP yRur ODnH Rr RII WhH rRDd, Rr WDLOJDWing.

In ad­di­tion to drowsy driv­ing, the rush of the hol­i­day sea­son may lead mo­torists to speed on the road­ways, pre­sent­ing an ad­di­tional dan­ger. Then there are the dis­trac­tions due to the mod­ern-day propen­sity to use cell­phones while driv­ing, in ad­di­tion to drivers eat­ing while driv­ing in or­der to save time from hav­ing to stop for food.

Hol­i­day par­ties also add to the threat of folks drinkLnJ Dnd drLvLnJ, WhH dHDdOLHVW PLx RI WhHP DOO.

So, in or­der to have a safe and happy hol­i­day, when you get be­hind the wheel don’t drink and drive, cut the dis­trac­tions and stay fo­cused and if you get sleepy, pull over or let some­one else drive.

Happy hol­i­days!

Submitted photo

STU­DENT OF THE MONTH ... Joseph Koch, a se­nior from Pen­nridge High School, has been named Stu­dent of the Month for Oc­to­ber at the Up­per Bucks County Tech­ni­cal School. Koch has been en­rolled in the diesel tech­nol­ogy pro­gram for three years. Koch has been named to the distin­guished honor roll at Pen­nridge High School and also earned first hon­ors at UBCTS. In ad­di­tion, he was awarded Out­stand­ing Level I and Level II stu­dent in the UBCTS diesel tech­nol­ogy pro­gram. Koch is em­ployed by Bloom­ing Glen Con­trac­tors as a diesel me­chanic and has re­ceived his state in­spec­tion li­cense for pas­sen­ger and heavy trucks. He also has com­pleted a safety and pol­lu­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in the fol­low­ing ar­eas: me­chan­i­cal safety, me­chan­i­cal pol­lu­tion preven­tion, heavy duty safety and heavy duty pol­lu­tion preven­tion. He has earned the rank of Ea­gle Scout and is a mem­ber of the Pen­nridge High School wrestling team. Upon grad­u­a­tion, Koch plans to at­tend col­lege and ma­jor in diesel tech­nol­ogy.

Submitted photo

DO­NATED ... The Rev. Julie Bergdahl, pas­tor of St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Sellersville, third from left, presents a $20,000 check to Pen­nridge FISH Pres­i­dent Ted von Me­chow, sec­ond from left, to jump-start a ma­jor cap­i­tal cam­paign for the lo­cal food pantry. Look­ing on are St. Michael’s mem­bers Joan Frick, left, and Deb­bie and Gil Hulme. Pen­nridge FISH cel­e­brated its 40th an­niver­sary at St. Michael’s with a spe­cial din­ner Oct. 21 to honor its many ded­i­cated vol­un­teers.

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