Help spread awareness about safe driving and know when you’re too tired to get behind the wheel during Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, November 2 through 9. Daylight savings time begins November 2, which means adjusting to different driving hours.
Teens need between 9 and 10 hours of sleep each night, but only get 7.4 hours on average. It’s important to realize when you’re too tired to drive and that you may need a break to wake up or to take a nap. Some signs that you’re too tired may include difficulty focusing, heavy eyelids, daydreaming, drifting out of your lane, yawning and feeling restless or aggressive.
Daylight savings time also means more driving at night. Driving at night is the biggest risk factor for teen drivers because of visibility changes, fatigue and driver inexperience.
Problems of nighttime driving include:
- Dusk is the most dangerous time to drive since your eyes constantly have to readjust to increasing darkness.
- Your field of vision is smaller without the aid of light, and headlight glare further impairs your ability to see and avoid hazards.
- Other vehicle’s speed and distance are more difficult to judge at night.
To help mitigate the risks of drowsy driving and nighttime driving, you can do the following:
- Wear your seat belt. The danger of driving at night should not be multiplied by being unsecured.
- Keep distractions out of the car and your attention on the road.
- Turn headlights on at dusk, reduce your speed and increase your following distance.
- You should be able to stop inside the illuminated area of your headlights. If not, you are creating a blind crash area in front of your vehicle.
- Avoid oncoming headlight glare by watching the right edge of the road and using it as a steering guide.
- Be especially careful of pedestrians and bicycle riders who may still be on the streets after dark.
- Get the sleep you need.
- Know the signs of being too drowsy to drive and ask for help!
For more information on drowsy driving, visit sleepfoundation.org or t-driver.com.