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Hollywood whistleblowers shed light on drowsy driving problem

Last fall, Riverdale star KJ Apa crashed his car into a lamp post on his way home from a 14-hour day of shooting. Combined with the on-set death of a Midnight Rider camera tech, the accident has spurred an important conversation about long hours in Hollywood - and the dangers that such demanding schedules can cause.

Both incidents were blamed on sleep deprivation, a risk that has led many in the film and TV industry to speak up and call for change. Could this increased awareness lead to moderated schedules and more protections for workers?

The dangers of insufficient sleep

Drowsy driving does not garner the same kind of media campaigns and widespread attention as other dangerous behaviors, such as driving while drunk or distracted by a cell phone. However, it can be just as dangerous.

"Drowsy driving is not just falling asleep at the wheel; it mimics alcohol-impaired driving," one expert told Reuters in 2017. Indeed, driving without adequate sleep can lead to impaired judgment, slower reaction times and poor decision-making - all of which can be deadly behind the wheel.

7 signs of drowsy driving

Even for those of us in the "real world," life's demands require many of us to operate with some level of sleep deprivation. How can you tell when you're too sleepy to safely operate a motor vehicle?

The National Sleep Foundation has identified seven signs that you're too tired to drive.

  1. Heavy eyelids, frequent blinking or difficulty focusing
  2. Missing traffic signs or exits
  3. Trouble remembering the last few miles
  4. Rubbing your eyes or repeated yawning
  5. Nodding or struggling to hold your head up
  6. Daydreaming or wandering thoughts
  7. Tailgating, drifting into other lanes or driving over rumble strips

If you experience one or more of these signs while driving, it may be time to take a break. Consider pulling over to get some rest or finding another ride.

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