Daylight Saving Time ended on Sunday, Nov. 1and the first few days of adjusting to the time change may disrupt sleep patterns and affect the ability to concentrate and safely operate a motor vehicle. To highlight the life-threatening dangers of fatigued driving, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) joins the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), and the National Sleep Foundation in recognizing Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, Nov. 1-8, 2020, and encouraging Californians to stay alert and stay alive.
“Staying alert behind the wheel goes beyond avoiding distractions,” said CHP Commissioner Warren Stanley. “The other major contributor to driver inattention is drowsy driving. Fatigue can have a similar impairment effect as drugs or alcohol.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being awake for at least 18 consecutive hours is the same as having a blood alcohol content of .05 percent. On average, in California there are more than 6,000 crashes annually that are attributed to drowsy driving.
“If you’re feeling sleepy, you shouldn’t be driving,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “When you ask yourself, ‘Am I OK to drive?’, the answer should factor in not only if you’ve been drinking or have taken drugs that impair, but also if you’ve had enough rest.”
“We should all remember that despite the pace of life, it’s vitally important to avoid driving when fatigued or without adequate rest,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “Caltrans operates more than 85 Safety Roadside Rest Areas throughout the state, each providing a convenient place to rejuvenate before returning to the highway.”
The public can view rest area locations by visiting: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/.
Some suggested tips to avoid drowsy driving include getting at least seven hours of sleep a day, sticking to a sleep schedule, and avoiding alcohol or medications that can cause drowsiness. Caffeinated beverages may help in the short term, but are not a substitute for sleep or rest. Stay alert and drive without distraction not only to protect yourself, but also your passengers and other motorists.