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Drowsy Driving Prevention


At times, virtually everyone is at-risk for drowsy driving. Under certain circumstances, those risks increase:
• Sleep deprivation or fatigue (6 hours of sleep or less increases risk)
• Suffering from sleep loss (insomnia) or poor sleep quality
• Driving long distances without breaks
• Driving through the night, mid-afternoon, or during times when normally asleep
• Taking sedating medications (antidepressants, antihistamines)
• Drinking even small amounts of alcohol
• Driving alone or on a long, rural, dark, or boring road

There are certain populations at increased risk for fall-asleep crashes:
• Young people—especially males under age 26
• Shift workers and people with long work hours—working the night shift increases risk; rotating-shift workers and people working more than 60 hours a week
• Commercial drivers—especially long-haul drivers
• People with undiagnosed or untreated disorders—those with untreated obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel

If you start to feel tired while driving, stop, find a safe, well-lit area and take a 15-20 minute nap. Caffeine can promote short-term alertness, but it takes about 30 minutes for it to enter the bloodstream. Blasting a radio, opening a window and similar “tricks” to do not work.