NEWPORT — As a part of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, Chief Travis R. Bingham and the Newport Police Department would like to provide safety tips to prevent dangerous driving conditions.
Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, organized by the National Sleep Foundation began this year on Sunday, Nov. 1 and ends on Saturday, Nov 8. This annual campaign seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of drowsy driving and how to prevent it.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2017, 91,000 motor vehicle crashes involved drowsy drivers. These crashes caused approximately 795 fatalities, and 50,000 civilian injuries.
Often, these crashes occur between midnight and 6 a.m, or in the late afternoon, which is when people experience a dip in their internal clock that regulates sleep. Additionally, these crashes frequently occur on rural roads or long stretches of highway.
“Even if you don’t fall asleep while driving, being drowsy can slow your reaction time and affect your decision making abilities,” Chief Bingham said. “Drowsy driving crashes can be prevented if people recognize the warning signs, like increased yawning or blinking, or drifting from your lane.”
To prevent drowsy driving related incidents, the Newport Police Department wishes to share the following safety tips provided by the NHTSA:
- Make it a priority to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
- Before the start of a long family car trip, get a good night’s sleep.
- If you are driving a long distance, schedule proper breaks.
- Many teens do not get enough sleep at a stage in life when their biological need for sleep increases. Advise your teens never to drive if they are feeling drowsy or did not get enough sleep the night beforehand.
- Do not drink alcohol before driving. Consumption of alcohol can increase drowsiness and cause impairment.
- Always check your prescription and over-the-counter medication labels to see if drowsiness could result from their use. If you take medications that could cause drowsiness as a side effect, seek out opportunities to use public transportation instead of driving.
- Avoid driving during the peak sleepiness periods (midnight – 6 a.m. and late afternoon). If you must drive during the peak sleepiness periods, stay vigilant for signs of drowsiness, such as crossing over roadway lines or hitting a rumble strip, especially if you’re driving alone.
- If you do feel drowsy, find a safe place to stop for a break or for the night.
For more drowsy driving information and prevention tips visit the NHTSA website here.