1.9 Million Drivers Have Fatigue-Related Car Crashes or Near Misses Each Year

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Date:
Monday, November 2, 2009

Feeling Sleepy? Stop driving if you exhibit these warning signs!

The following warning signs indicate that it's time to stop driving and find a safe place to pull over and address your condition:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and/or heavy eyelids
  • Difficulty keeping reveries or daydreams at bay
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips
  • Unable to clearly remember the last few miles driven
  • Missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Feeling restless, irritable, or aggressive

Countermeasures - National Sleep Foundation's Tips for Drowsy-free Driving:

  • Get a good night's sleep before you hit the road. Most adults need 7 - 9 hours of sleep to maintain proper alertness.
  • Don't be too rushed to arrive at your destination. Many drivers try to maximize their time by driving at night or not stopping for breaks. However, crashes caused by sleepiness are among the most deadly. It's worth extra time and money to arrive at your destination safely.
  • Use the buddy system. Just as you should not swim alone, avoid driving alone for long distances. A buddy who remains awake for the journey can take a turn behind the wheel and help identify the warning signs of fatigue.
  • Take a break every 100 miles or 2 hours.
  • Avoid alcohol and sedating medications check your labels or ask your doctor or pharmacist about side-effects.
  • Avoid driving at times when you would normally be sleeping.
  • Take a nap; if you feel that you are in danger of falling asleep find a safe place to take a 15 to 20-minute nap.
  • Pack a cooler with caffeinated beverages or keep caffeinated gum and mints in the glove compartment. The equivalent of two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours. Since caffeine in liquid form takes about 20 to 30 minutes to take effect, consume caffeine before taking a short nap to get the benefits of both. However, it should be remembered that caffeine does not replace sleep, it only delays its onset temporarily.
  • Adequate sleep remains the best countermeasure for sleepiness!

For more information about drowsy driving, visit

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