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Mar-06-2019 12:08printcomments

Upcoming Time Change Expected to Cause Drowsy Drivers

Avoid drowsy driving, get extra rest now

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Photo by JESHOOTS.com / Pexels

(SALEM, Ore.) - This weekend, Oregonians will spring forward by setting clocks ahead one hour (officially at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 10), and safety advocates want to remind travelers that changes to sleeping patterns can result in drowsy driving – and that can be fatal for anyone out using the transportation system, whether in a car, on foot, riding or rolling.

Drowsy driving can be deadly, just like driving impaired. From 2013 – 2017 in Oregon, 58 people died in crashes involving a drowsy driver – and officials believe the real number is likely higher.

Unlike drunk driving, driving drowsy is not a behavior people readily recognize as wrong.

Around one-third of American drivers have admitted falling asleep at the wheel, and more than half (60 percent) said they have driven while drowsy, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll. But like impaired driving, the consequences of drowsy driving can be tragic. And like impaired driving, it’s preventable.

Fatigue has costly effects on the safety, health, and quality of life of the American public. Whether fatigue is caused by sleep restriction due to a new baby waking every couple of hours, a late or long shift at work, hanging out late with friends, or a long and monotonous drive for the holidays – the negative outcomes can be the same. These include impaired cognition and performance, motor vehicle crashes, workplace accidents, and health consequences.

Addressing these issues can be difficult when our values frequently do not align with avoiding drowsy driving. In a 24/7 society, with an emphasis on work, longer commutes, and exponential advancement of technology, many people do not get the sleep they need. Effectively dealing with the drowsy-driving problem requires fundamental changes to societal norms and especially attitudes about drowsy driving.

Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for tips on avoiding drowsy driving, how to recognize it, and what to do... before it’s too late.

Source: ODOT; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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