Feeling sleepy? You’re not alone.
When daylight savings time ends, it always feels a little bit harder to stay awake. For those of us blessed with living in Bellingham, Washington, high in the fourth corner of the Pacific Northwest, winter daylight hours are but a sliver of the clock compared to summer’s endless days. To coincide with the time change, the National Sleep Foundation has declared November 1-8 as Drowsy Driving Awareness Week. About 20% of accidents involve someone driving drowsy, including this terrible case in Ferndale where teens were killed by an alleged sleepy driver.
It is as real a problem as drunk and distracted driving, and awareness for drowsy driving is crucial to build.
Here is the press release from Washington State Patrol:
Olympia- Our troopers see it and hear it all the time. A driver telling a trooper after a collision, “I don’t
know what happened, I must have fallen asleep.” These types of collisions are more common than one
might think and just as devastating and dangerous as speeding, drinking and driving, or not wearing seat
“Drowsy driving deaths are completely preventable if we all take the time to think twice before driving
while tired,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “As the days are getting shorter, this is a good time to talk to drivers
young and old about how deadly it can be to drive while tired.”
Drowsy driving has serious consequences. Between 2012 and October 2015, there were over 4700
collisions investigated in Washington State where the driver either fell asleep, was fatigued or both
behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. People who drive tired or drowsy have impaired reaction time,
judgment, vision, awareness of surroundings, and decision making skills. The warning signs of a tired or
drowsy driver are trouble keeping eyes open and head up, difficulty focusing, yawning repeatedly, and
missing highway exits or traffic signs.
“Drowsy driving is as dangerous as getting behind the wheel while under the influence,” said Chief John
Batiste, Washington State Patrol. “A simple awareness by drivers can prevent them from getting behind
the wheel tired and taking a life.”
Drowsy driving is such an important issue it prompted Governor Jay Inslee to sign a proclamation
urging citizens to understand the dangers of drowsy driving and to join him in observing National Drowsy
Driving Prevention Week from November 1-8, 2015.
Here are some simple tips for staying awake behind the wheel:
Get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road
Don’t be too rushed to arrive at your destination
Take a break every two hours or 100 miles to refresh
Use the buddy system to keep you awake and share driving chores
Avoid alcohol, drugs and medications that cause drowsiness as a side effect
Avoid driving when you would normally be sleeping
A few more resources: