Fall back, get drowsy: Tips for driving safety

ODOT warns: Changing clocks can raise danger on roads

By KTVZ.COM news sources
POSTED: 8:48 PM PDT October 31, 2013    UPDATED: 8:49 PM PDT October 31, 2013 
Police lights night (generic)
SALEM, Ore. -

The Oregon Department of Transportation is reminding motorists that this weekend's clock adjustment may also require adjustments in sleeping patterns to ensure you don't get sleepy behind the wheel.

"Getting a good night's sleep is the best way to fend off drowsy driving," said Troy E. Costales, ODOT's Safety Division administrator. And getting a couple of good night's sleep in a row is even better. That's why safety advocates encourage people to plan ahead and begin "re-setting" their body clocks on Friday for the Sunday morning change.

In the Pacific Northwest, everyone will set their clocks back one hour sometime Sunday morning (officially, it occurs at 2 a.m.). While it may seem like people will get an extra hour of sleep, that's not always the case. Any change in a sleeping pattern that can cause tiredness.

In Oregon last year, seven people died in crashes involving a drowsy driver, and 788 people were injured. Across the country, 28 percent of American drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel, according to a National Sleep Foundation poll, and more than half (54 percent) said they have driven while drowsy. That's a risk that could be fatal.

Watch for signs of drowsiness, and respond

If you experience any of the following, it's time to get off the road:

Getting sleepy? Here's what to do

Find a safe place to pull over right away, such as a rest area or a store parking lot. Studies show a 15-20 minute nap can help restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and crashes. The National Sleep Foundation suggests drinking a caffeinated beverage, then taking a quick nap, and you'll get the benefits of both. Whatever you do, it's important to listen to your body and respond appropriately.

FIRST: Take steps to prevent drowsy driving

Here are some tips from the experts to prevent drowsy driving:

For more tips on how to "drive alert, arrive alive," visit www.drowsydriving.org.