Staying safe on the road during the holiday season
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:
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• 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:
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• 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.
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.
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.