Yawning once or twice behind the wheel during the morning commute is normal. However, feeling fatigued or drowsy while driving can be incredibly dangerous.
The National Sleep Foundation found that driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Exhaustion impairs drivers and slows their reaction time just as much as alcohol. And the risk of drowsy driving could significantly increase in just the next few weeks.
Drowsy driving accidents increase around daylight savings time
According to the National Safety Council, the rate of drowsy driving increases significantly around daylight savings time. There are a few reasons for this, including:
- The end of daylight savings time means it will be darker for a longer amount of time;
- Darkness inhibits a drivers’ ability to see, and also makes them feel more tired; and
- At first, daylight savings time can throw off individuals’ circadian rhythms, causing them to feel more tired as they readjust.
This year, the end of daylight savings time falls on November 3. This date is coming up fast, so drivers must be conscious of this change so they can stay safe on the roads.
Tips to prevent drowsy driving
It may not take very long for Kentuckians to acclimate to the end of daylight savings time. However, even a few days of readjusting and increased exhaustion can put individuals and other drivers at risk.
So, here are a few tips to help drivers prevent drowsy driving in the coming weeks and the future:
- Do not drive alone: Figuring out a carpool can help reduce the chance of drowsy driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) found that in most accidents involving a drowsy driver or a driver falling asleep behind the wheel, the drivers were alone in the car. Passengers or companions can help drivers stay awake.
- Get enough rest: It can be difficult to get enough sleep in today’s society. But adults should get about eight hours of sleep each night. Proper rest can help drivers stay alert all day, and especially behind the wheel.
- Avoid rush hour: After daylight savings time ends, the morning and afternoon rush hours become even more dangerous since it is dark out at both times. Slow traffic and darkness can create the perfect circumstances for drivers to fall asleep behind the wheel. It may not always be possible but steering clear of rush hour traffic can help drivers stay safe.
Daylight savings time can throw everyone off. However, having a plan to ensure drivers stay alert can help reduce the chances of an accident.