The California Highway Patrol is launching a campaign this week to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while drowsy.
Monday marked the start of the National Sleep Foundation's Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, and the CHP is reminding drivers of the potentially deadly consequences of getting behind the wheel while feeling sleepy.
"Fatigued drivers are a safety risk on our roadways," CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. "If you are tired, reaction time and judgment can become impaired. Tired drivers behave similarly to those who are intoxicated."
Indeed, in 2010, there were more than 3,600 collisions statewide involving sleepy drivers. The crashes caused 32 deaths and more than 2,000 injuries, according to the CHP.
The CHP and National Sleep Foundation encourage drivers to take steps to reduce their risk of falling asleep, including:
- Get enough sleep, at least 7-9 hours, to help maintain alertness.
- On long road trips, schedule breaks every couple of hours or every 100 miles.
- When possible, travel with a companion who can take a turn behind the wheel or help keep the driver awake.
- Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
- Avoid alcohol or medications that cause drowsiness.
- Consume caffeine as it increases alertness.
- When tiredness sets in, exit the highway and find a safe location to park and rest. Do not pull over on the shoulder of the freeway to rest, which can be extremely dangerous.
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