It’s the Drowsiest Time of the Year
Sunday, November 7, 2021, marked the end of Daylight Saving Time. We “fell back” in time again. With the clocks changing, you may have noticed a disruption in your sleep patterns. When it gets dark so early, increased drowsiness is a common complaint. Fatigue can affect the ability of a person to drive a vehicle safely – that’s why the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has recognized this week as its annual Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. CHP works in connection with the National Sleep Foundation to run a campaign through November 13th to remind motorists to stay alert behind the wheel and to be aware of the warning signs of drowsy driving.
Drowsy Driving Dangers
Drowsy driving falls into a dangerous category similar to distracted or impaired driving. When a motorist is exhibiting signs of fatigue, the results can mimic drunk driving. In our state alone, there are upwards of 6,000 traffic collisions every year that can be attributed to driver fatigue.
Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that drivers who have not slept for at least 18 hours may behave as though they were impaired by alcohol consumption.
Alert Behind the Wheel
The 2021 drowsy driving week campaign slogan is the somewhat clunky “alert behind the wheel is how you should feel.” Of course, prevention of drowsy driving ideally means that every motorist is getting enough sleep, but the reality is that is not possible since many people suffer from insomnia or work long hours. Humans can adapt to different sleep schedules, and some people have the need for fewer hours of sleep than others, but none of us are robots, and we all require sufficient recharge. When we do not get adequate rest, our cognitive skills and reflexes suffer – both of which are crucial to safe driving.
The CHP has included in its Alert Behind the Wheel campaign some tips for motorists to recognize and avoid driving while fatigued:
- Make it a priority to get enough sleep before getting behind the wheel.
- While on road trips, have your passenger switch to driving before you feel the effects of drowsiness.
- Even if you do not feel fatigued, make regular rest stops and move around.
- Avoid all substances that can increase drowsiness.
Staying alert and making the pledge to drive without distractions not only is a way to safeguard your own health, but it protects your passengers as well as other travelers.
Watch the YouTube video. The news clip below from KCRA reports on extra enforcement efforts this week. Officers will be on the lookout for signs of drowsy driving.
Take Advantage of the Many California Rest Stops
There are more than 80 roadside rest areas in California that you can take advantage of to help relieve fatigue while driving. The rest areas throughout our state are maintained by Caltrans, and the agency provides road information and a rest area map on their website: http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/
Personal Injury Lawyers in Sacramento
Hello – thanks for reading our discussion of the CHP’s yearly effort to keep drivers alert behind the wheel following the end of Daylight Saving Time. I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury lawyer. Following a car accident, many people feel frustrated and confused by the insurance process. Let us answer your questions so that you can concentrate on your physical recovery. Our compassionate injury attorneys are available by phone at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 to offer free and friendly legal advice. You may also send your questions via our online portal.
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