Going to sleep “later” as a result of the upcoming Daylight Saving Time change on Nov. 6 can disrupt sleep patterns and may result in sleep-deprived drivers struggling with performance and concentration behind the wheel. The California Highway Patrol joins with the National Sleep Foundation to promote Drowsy Driving Awareness Week, November 6-13, and increase awareness of the dangers associated with the deadly driving behavior.
California has seen an increase in collisions involving sleepy or fatigued drivers over the last three years. In 2013, there were 4,284 collisions involving sleepy or fatigued drivers. The number increased to 4,693 in 2014 and to 5,511 in 2015. Over the same time span, those collisions resulted in the deaths of 28 people in 2013, 44 people in 2014, and 45 in 2015.
“Most people are aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated, but many do not know that drowsiness also impairs judgment, performance, and reaction time just like alcohol and drugs,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Teens and young adults are at the highest risk of drowsy driving, due to their chronic sleepiness and overall lack of driving experience.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are an estimated 100,000 collisions annually in the United States that are a result of drowsy driving. These collisions result in more than 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and an estimated $12.5 billion in monetary losses.
Here are some tips to avoid drowsy driving:
* Get a good night’s sleep before a long drive.
* Get off the road if you notice any signs of fatigue.
* Take a nap. Exit the freeway, pull off the road and find a safe place to take a 15-20 minute nap.
* Consume caffeine. The equivalent of two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours, but DO NOT rely on it for long periods.
* Drive with a friend. A passenger who remains awake can help watch for signs of fatigue in the driver and take a turn driving if necessary.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security to the people of California.