Many San Diego drivers will travel long distances by car during the upcoming
holiday season, which can increase the risk ofdrowsy driving accidents. According to California Highway Patrol, drowsy driving caused more than 3,600
car accidents, 32 deaths and more than 2,000 injuries in California in 2010.
Drowsy driving is also more common than some might think. A survey by the
National Sleep Foundation found that 60 percent of adult drivers —
about 168 million people – have gotten behind the wheel tired, and
more than one-third have actually fallen asleep.
Even when drivers don’t actually nod off, drowsy driving can still
be dangerous. Driving unusually slow, impeding traffic, drifting across
lanes, and driving on the shoulder are all signs that a driver may be
too tired to control the vehicle. In fact, the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration found that, after 17 hours of being awake, a person’s
motor skills are adversely impacted to same degree as if that person had
a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 percent.
Therefore, if you are driving a long distance or leaving early in the morning
or late at night to beat the holiday traffic, we urge you to consider
the following tips:
- Get enough sleep, at least seven to nine hours, to help maintain alertness.
Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
- Pull off the road and take a 15-minute nap.
- On long road trips, schedule breaks every couple of hours or every 100 miles.
- Travel with a companion who can take a turn behind the wheel.
- Avoid alcohol or medications that cause drowsiness.
- Consume caffeine to increase alertness.
- Stop for food or beverages. Avoid eating while driving