Daylight Savings Looms: NRSF Says Drowsy's As Bad As Drunk

March 6, 2009

Most of us have heard this admonition from mom, dad, or driving school instructor: driving drowsy is just as bad as driving drunk. But the NRSF (National Road Safety Foundation) adds a twist we hadn't considered, alerting drivers that roadways will "become a bit more dangerous" when our clocks spring forward to daylight savings time this Sunday morning.

Never fear, the NRSF's on top of it. The non-profit has even produced free drivers-ed literature such as its newest volume, "Recognizing the Drowsy Driver." If you fail to recognize your drowsy driving before Officer Bob does, you'll probably be stuck reading a nice thick packet of the organization's prose in Saturday traffic school.

NRSF claim that more than one third of drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel, and they want to bring your attention to the following indicators of drowsy driving:

  • Difficulty focusing, with frequent blinking
  • Daydreaming or not remembering the last few miles driven
  • Head nodding
  • Repeated yawning or rubbing eyes
  • Drifting out of your lane, tailgating or hitting rumble strips

NHTSA estimates that driver fatigue is responsible for more than 100,000 crashes every year, resulting in at least 1,500 deaths, 71,000 injuries and more than $12 billion in losses.

What to do if you have to drive a few more drowsy miles until you make it to your destination? NRSF suggests pulling over at the next available stop/exit and taking a 20-minute nap or break, and drinking some coffee or eating some caffeinated snacks. They recommend giving the caffeine 30 minutes to enter your system.

Daylight Savings goes into effect this Sunday, 3/8, at 2 A.M. Do yourself a favor and set all your clocks an hour forward sometime Saturday afternoon. You may look like a stooge showing up an hour early for the big Saturday Night Shindig, but that's better than giving your airbag a kiss the next morning trying to get to church on time.

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