A tired driver is a dangerous and potentially deadly driver. The California Highway Patrol joins the National Sleep Foundation in a week-long campaign to educate motorists during “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week,” Nov. 12-18.
“Fatigued drivers are a safety risk on our roadways,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “If you are tired, reaction time and judgment can become impaired. Tired drivers behave similarly to those who are intoxicated.”
According to statistics from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, in 2010, the most recent year in which finalized figures are available, there were more than 3,600 collisions in California involving drowsy drivers. As a result of those collisions, 32 people died and more than 2,000 others were injured.
Drowsiness can reduce reaction time, impair judgment and vision and impact a driver’s attention.
The CHP and the National Sleep Foundation offer the following tips to drivers to reduce their risk of falling asleep behind the wheel:
§ Get enough sleep, at least seven to nine hours, to help maintain alertness.
§ On long road trips, schedule breaks every couple of hours or every 100 miles.
§ When possible, travel with a companion who can take a turn behind the wheel or help keep the driver awake.
§ Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
§ Avoid alcohol or medications that cause drowsiness.
§ Consume caffeine, as it increases alertness.
§ When tiredness sets in, exit the highway and find a safe location to park and rest.
“With a few simple precautions, drivers can help prevent future tragedies from occurring,” Farrow added.