Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday and the time change may disrupt sleep patterns and affect the ability to concentrate and safely operate a motor vehicle.
To highlight the dangers of fatigued driving, the California Highway Patrol joins the Office of Traffic Safety, the California Department of Transportation, and the National Sleep Foundation in recognizing Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, Nov. 5 to 12.
“Safely operating a motor vehicle while on California’s roadways should be the goal of every driver, and that includes staying alert and not allowing yourself to drive while drowsy,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “Drowsy driving can be as much of an impairment as drugs or alcohol.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states going without sleep for at least 18 hours is the same as having a blood alcohol content of .05 percent.
“We all have places to go, but if you are too tired to drive, you should not be driving,” OTS Director Rhonda Craft said. “Like impaired or distracted driving, drowsy driving puts yourself and others at risk.”
Caltrans will use the electronic Changeable Message Signs along highways to raise awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving. Almost 900 signs across the state will display the message “Feel Drowsy? Exit and Rest.”
“In today’s 24/7 society, we need a good reminder that if you are driving fatigued or sleepy you need to exit and rest rather than putting your life and others in jeopardy,” said Caltrans Director Laurie Berman. “Caltrans maintains more than 80 safety roadside rest areas across the state.”
To find a rest area in your area, or to check for the latest travel information on state highways, visit http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/.
Some suggested tips to avoid drowsy driving include: getting enough sleep (at least seven hours a day), sticking to a sleep schedule, and avoid alcohol or medications that can cause drowsiness. Caffeinated beverages may help in the short term, but are not a substitute for sleep or rest. Make it your goal to minimize the risks of driving drowsy for you, your passengers, and other motorists.