Drowsy driving causes over 6,400 deaths in the U.S. every year. To raise awareness and reduce fall-asleep deaths, the National Sleep Foundation launched Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which runs November 6-13, 2022.
Planning is key for preventing drowsy driving. Here are seven things you can do to reduce the risk of fall-asleep crashes before getting in your vehicle:
- Get the right amount of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours a night for adults and 8-10 hours for teens.
- Plan long trips with a companion. A good driving companion can keep you alert, watch for signs of fatigue and take shifts behind the wheel.
- Schedule regular stops. Plan rest stops and points of interest along your drive to encourage stopping.
- Know the signs of drowsy driving. If you're having trouble focusing, keeping your head up, staying in your lane or keeping your eyes open, stop driving immediately.
- Beware of medications. Check with a healthcare professional about any potential side effects of your medications that could make driving dangerous.
- Avoid alcohol. Even at acceptable levels for driving, alcohol interacts with fatigue, increasing the likelihood that you'll fall asleep behind the wheel.
- Consult a physician. If you're experiencing constant daytime sleepiness or trouble staying awake behind the wheel, talk to your doctor about a possible diagnosis and treatment for sleep disorders.
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