Changing of seasons can cause drowsy driving


As days get darker due to the tilt of the planet for winter, many individuals experience disrupted sleep patterns, which can lead to drowsy driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving contributes to over 100,000 crashes annually, resulting in 50,000 injuries and 800 fatalities.

The National Sleep Foundation said the cornerstone of preventing drowsy driving lies in identifying the signs of impaired driving before deciding to get behind the wheel.

Drivers should be on the lookout for symptoms such as difficulty keeping their eyes open, drifting out of their lane, missing exits or turns, and feeling irritable or restless. Drivers should pull over if they experience this.

To combat being drowsy while driving, the National Sleep Foundation has some tips. First, people should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night to ensure they are well-rested and alert while driving. People should also maintain a consistent sleep schedule to regulate their body’s internal clock and create a comfortable sleep environment free of distractions to facilitate a more restful sleep experience.

People should also avoid caffeine and electronic devices close to bedtime, which can interfere with their ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

During long trips, people should plan regular breaks every two hours or every 100 miles. Breaks give drivers an opportunity to rest, stretch, and get a snack or cup of coffee, which can combat drowsiness and improve focus while driving. People should also take turns with companions behind the wheel, which keeps both drivers more alert.

People should also avoid alcohol and certain medications, which can increase the effects of drowsiness.

Lastly, people should check their prescription labels for warnings about operating heavy machinery.