Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is Nov. 4-11

Nov. 4 also marks the start of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. Sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation, the week seeks to raise public awareness about drowsy driving, its effect on drivers and how it can be avoided. Ultimately, the goal is to decrease drowsy driving and make America’s roads safer.

Did you know:

  • Adults ages 18-29 are much more likely to drive while drowsy, compared to other age groups.
  • Men are more likely than women to drive while drowsy (56 percent vs. 45 percent).
  • Sleep deprivation increases the risk of a sleep-related crash. The more you sleep, the better you drive.
  • People tend to fall asleep while driving on high-speed, long or rural highways.
  • Nearly one quarter of adults in the U.S. say they know someone personally who has fallen asleep at the wheel.

“A driver who’s been awake for 24 hours is as impaired as a driver with a blood alcohol content of 0.10 percent, which is well above the standard for being legally drunk — 0.08 percent — in all states,” says Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital Sleep Center manager Julie Toomey. “Driver sleepiness is related to one in five serious motor vehicle injuries.”

“If you’re turning up the radio or rolling down the window to stay awake — these don’t work, by the way — drifting lanes, tailgating, missing signs or exits, having trouble focusing or reacting, or struggling to keep your eyes open — it’s time to get off the road,” Toomey says.

The Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital Sleep Center offers the following tips to avoid drowsy driving:

  • Make sure you get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.
  • If you’ve been awake for 24 hours or more, don’t drive. It’s not safe.
  • If you know you have a long road ahead, and you’re feeling sleepy, drink something with caffeine.
  • If you’re on a road trip, make sure you plan regular stops for short naps.
  • Try stopping for a break every 100 miles or every two hours on the road.
  • Travel during times when you’re normally awake.

If you have difficulty sleeping, seek help from a professional such as the accredited Sleep Disorders Center at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital. For more information, call 314-996-8680.

Source: sleepfoundation.org/drowsy-driving

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