The incident happened in June, but the Florida Highway Patrol warns it can happen to anyone who gets behind the wheel when they are too exhausted to drive.
On June 3rd of 2018, a man who admitted he was exhausted and fell asleep at the wheel while driving on the Florida Turnpike crashed into a toll booth at full-speed near St. Cloud. The driver of the vehicle was ejected from the vehicle and five occupants were treated at the hospital. The car then burst into flames.
“Getting behind the wheel while fatigued can have dangerous, and sometimes deadly, consequences. If you’re having difficulty focusing, frequent blinking or heavy eyelids, pull over in a safe place to rest before continuing to drive,” the Florida Highway Patrol said after the incident.
The National Sleep Foundation is an organization that focuses on educating American’s about the causes and risks associated with not getting enough sleep.
“Drowsy driving is responsible for more than 6,400 U.S. deaths annually. These fall asleep crashes are often caused by not getting the sleep you need,” NSF says.
Now as summer comes to an end, it’s natural for people to sacrifice sleep to get “more of summer” in before September arrives.
“As the days get warmer and school is out for the summer, we want to take advantage of the longer days when the sun rises earlier and sets later. Our schedules include more activities with friends and family and often include travel. What does this mean for your sleep,” NSF says. “Bright light earlier in the morning can energize you and help you feel more alert. But light and increased activity later in the evening can make it harder to wind down and fall asleep. How do you enjoy the long days of summer while still protecting your sleep? Think of light as the most powerful cue for your body clock.”
To learn more about the importance of sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation.