AAA URGES MOTORISTS TO SPRING FORWARD WITH SAFE DRIVING TIPS
TAMPA, Fla. (March 13, 2019 ) — Daylight Saving Time has sprung forward, which means Americans lose and extra hour of sleep. The first week into daylight saving time can interrupt sleep patterns, which can lead to drowsy driving. Sleeping fewer than five hours a night increases the risk of a collision by four to five times. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, drowsy-driving crashes claimed 795 lives. AAA reminds motorists that lack of sleep while driving can significantly increase their crash risk behind the wheel.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly all motorists view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and completely unacceptable; however, nearly three in ten motorists admitted to driving when they were so tired they could barely keep their eyes open.
“The best way to prevent a potentially fatal crash due to drowsy driving is to make sure you get a good night’s sleep,” said Montrae Waiters, AAA spokeswoman – The Auto Club Group. “We often try to tough it out and attempt to stay awake through various actions, but if you find yourself too tired to drive, rest areas have been found to be most effective in reducing drowsy driving related crashes.”
There is no guarantee you will recognize your body becoming tired behind the wheel. In fact, one half of drivers involved in crashes resulting from falling asleep behind the wheel did not detect any signs of drowsiness prior to the crash. Be aware that there may not be any warning signs before drifting off to sleep, but be sure to recognize any of the warning signs that do appear:
- Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
- Daydreaming or wandering thoughts
- Trouble remembering the last few miles driven, passing up exits, or missing traffic signs
- Trouble keeping your head up
- Drifting from your lane, following too closely, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
- Feeling restless or irritable
AAA offers these tips to prevent becoming drowsy:
- Plan ahead. Be sure to take into consideration the total length of your trip, stopping points, and other logistical concerns. If you are planning on taking a longer trip, take a friend with you. Passengers can help identify symptoms of drowsiness and share the task of driving.
- Stop driving. Fatigue impacts reaction time, judgment and vision, causing people who are very sleepy to behave in similar ways to those who are drunk.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Consumption of alcohol interacts with sleepiness which increases drowsiness and impairment.
- Avoid medications that cause drowsiness. These include both over the counter and prescribed medications that may impair driving performance. If you are unsure how your medications may affect your driving performance you can find more information via Roadwise Rx: http://www.roadwiserx.com/
- Advise your teens to delay driving until they are well rested. Many teens do not get enough sleep at this stage in their life. Lack of sleep makes them vulnerable to the risk of drowsy-driving crashes.
The report results are part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data are from a sample of 2,511 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation issued its first Traffic Safety Culture Index in 2008, and the latest report is online at www.AAAFoundation.org.
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.8 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 59 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.