You know that alcohol and driving don’t mix, but did know you know that the combination of drowsiness and driving is just as dangerous? Drowsiness slows reaction time, increases moodiness and aggressive behaviors, decreases awareness, impairs judgment and vision, and increases your risk of crashing, just like alcohol.
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) Sleep in America poll, 60% of U.S. drivers have driven while feeling drowsy. Thirty-seven percent even admitted to falling asleep at the wheel in the past year. The AAA Foundation estimates the about one in six fatal crashes involves a drowsy driver.
In an effort to raise awareness of drowsy driving and reduce the number of fatigue-related crashes, the NSF designated one week in November as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. The annual campaign, taking place from November 3-10 this year, educates the public on the dangers of drowsy driving, sleep safety, and drowsy driving prevention.
Keep alert and prevent a fatigue-related crash by following these prevention tips from the NSF:
- Get a good night’s sleep (about 7 to 9 hours a night) to make sure you’re well-rested before hitting the road in the morning, especially if you’ll be driving for several hours.
- Don’t rush to your destination, such as maximizing a three-day weekend by driving at night or without stopping for breaks. Take your time and take a few breaks.
- Drive long distances with someone else who will help you stay alert while you drive and take over the wheel when you need a break.
- Take a break every 2 hours or 100 miles when driving long distances. Get a snack, go for a walk, switch drivers, or perform another activity that keeps you focused and energized.
- Find a safe place to take a 15- to 20-minute nap if you feel signs of drowsiness.
- Avoid alcohol, medications, and driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
- Consume caffeine (in moderation) to help you stay alert.
Visit www.drowsydriving.org for more information on drowsy driving.