The National Sleep Foundation Advises Travelers to Get Enough Sleep Before Hitting the Highway

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Date:
Friday, May 23, 2008

The Drive Alert and Arrive Alive with Lifesaving Tips to Prevent Drowsy Driving and Fall-Asleep Crashes

WASHINGTON, DC, May 21, 2008 -- T he Memorial Day weekend is one of the deadliest times for American drivers; road trips can turn tragic for travelers if they get behind the wheel without having had a good night's sleep. Sleepiness causes slower reaction times, vision impairment, lapses in judgment and delays in processing information, which are all critical elements for safe driving practices.

“Too many Americans are too tired to drive. In fact, according to NSF’s recently released 2008 Sleep in America poll, an alarming 36 percent of respondents admit to actually nodding off or falling asleep while driving,” stated David M. Cloud, NSF’s Chief Executive Officer. “Hectic weekend getaways may add to the problem as many get on the road at ungodly hours to beat the traffic. Not getting enough sleep puts everyone at increased risk for fall-asleep crashes. Understanding crucial warning signs and countermeasures is key to preventing sleep-related crashes.”

Warning Signs -- Feeling Sleepy? Stop Driving!

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

  • Rolling down the window or turning up the radio;
  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and/or heavy eyelids;
  • Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips;
  • Trouble remembering the last few miles driven;
  • Missing exits or traffic signs;
  • Trouble keeping your head up;
  • Yawning repeatedly.

Countermeasures -- NSF’s Tips for Drowsy-free Driving :

  • Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road . You'll want to be alert for the drive, so be sure to get adequate sleep (seven to nine hours) the night before you go.

  • Don't be too rushed to arrive at your destination . Many drivers try to maximize the holiday weekend by driving at night or without stopping for breaks. However, crashes caused by sleepiness are among the most deadly. It's better to allow the time to drive alert and arrive alive.
  • Use the buddy system . Just as you should not swim alone, avoid driving alone
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