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Take a Break - Drive Awake for the Holidays

It has probably happened to you. You are driving on a long trip, traveling alone or at night, or perhaps just off from a long shift at work-and you start to yawn. Your eyes are heavy, the road seems to go on forever, and your vehicle veers.  

 

You have just entered a danger zone.

 

Warning Signs:

 

  • Can't keep your eyes open or focused
  • You can't keep your head up
  • Daydreaming or wandering thoughts
  • Drifting from your lane or off the road
  • Unintentionally tailgating vehicles
  • Yawning frequently or rubbing your eyes repeatedly
  • Missing signs or driving past your intended turn or exit
  • Feeling irritable or restless
  • Being unable to recall how far you've gone, or places you've passed

 

Drowsy driving is estimated to contribute to as many as 1.2 million collisions, resulting in potentially 5,000 to 8,000 fatalities per year.  But despite these risks, experts agree that drowsy driving is far too prevalent. 

 

Research shows that nearly a third of drivers admitted to driving within the prior thirty days when they were so tired that they had trouble keeping their eyes open. This lack of sleep slows reaction time, impairs judgment, and increases the risk of dozing off while driving. 

 

Getting good sleep on a regular basis is the best defense against drowsy driving.  But if you do find yourself driving while drowsy, Take a Break. Drive Awake - to help reduce the risks of drowsy driving.

 

Rolling down the windows, turning up the radio or drinking a caffeinated beverage are not enough to stave off drowsiness.

 

What to do:

 

  • Find a safe, legal place off the roadway to take a quick nap
  • Take a break to recharge with exercise
  • Every two hours or 100 miles, pull over to stretch and move around
  • Have a buddy on long trips

 

Always aim for seven or more hours of sleep every night to ensure you are ready to get behind the wheel. Drivers who sleep less than five hours per night are six times more likely to be involved in a drowsy-driving-related crash than drivers who get eight or more hours of sleep.

 

Take the simple step to protect yourself and others by always being well rested before you get behind the wheel.

 

Never risk driving when you are drowsy.  But if you do find yourself drowsy while driving, remember: Take a Break. Drive Awake.  It may just save your life - or someone else's.

 

Kansas Traffic Safety Resources Office