ODOT 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. In the Pacific Northwest, everyone will set their clocks back one hour on Sunday, November 3 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 can cause tiredness.
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:
Problems focusing, blinking frequently and/or having heavy eyelids.
Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips.
Trouble remembering the last few miles driven or missing exits or traffic signs.
Trouble keeping your head up.
Rolling down the windows or turning up the radio to “keep you awake.”
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:
Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road. Adequate sleep for most Americans means seven to nine hours.
Going on a long drive? Use the buddy system – someone who is rested and awake for the journey and can take a turn behind the wheel or help identify the warning signs of fatigue.
If your trip is several hundred miles, take a break every 100 miles or 1½ - 2 hours. Do something to refresh yourself, like eating something cold or frozen (avoid sugary snacks!) or going for a 10-minute walk.
Avoid alcohol and monitor your medications. Many people unknowingly take prescription and over-the-counter drugs that contribute to drowsiness – being aware of your medications’ side effects can help you better manage your driving.
Consume caffeine. The equivalent of two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours.
Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
For more tips on how to “drive alert, arrive alive,” visit www.drowsydriving.org.
Safe Kids Oregon Helps Prevent Childhood Injury
Safe Kids Oregon focuses on one specific problem: more children ages 14 and under die from unintentional injuries (motor vehicle crashes, fires, drowning and other injuries) than from any other cause. The statewide network of organizations provides injury prevention information, safety devices, activities, and events aimed at empowering local communities to prevent unintentional childhood injuries.
Safe Kids brings together health and safety experts, corporations, foundations, governments, parents, and community volunteers to educate and protect children and their families. It takes a multi-faceted campaign (grassroots outreach, education, media and public policy efforts) to reach thousands of children and their families with life-saving interventions.
To get involved with Safe Kids in your community or sign up for their safety tips, visit www.safekidsoregon.org. Safe Kids Oregon is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide.
Oregon Winter Driving Guide
Oregon's beautiful scenery is a year-round source of enjoyment. Driving in Oregon's winters, however, can be challenging. Follow the recommendations in the Oregon Winter Driving Guide so you arrive safely at your destination! Drive Safely. The Way to Go.
This Thanksgiving, Be Thankful for Your Safety Belt
Thanksgiving is one of the great American holidays that involves a lot of travel. Family and friends from across the country or just across town take to the roads to visit together and celebrate, making it one of the busiest travel times of the year.
But the excitement and hustle and bustle of the holiday can be major distractions for those on the road, and all too often those distractions have deadly consequences. That’s why it’s important to do the single most effective thing to save your life in the event of a traffic crash: wear a safety belt.
With proper safety belt use, the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers is reduced by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate to serious injury is reduced by 50 percent. Be careful on the roads and don’t let this Thanksgiving end in tragedy. Insist on proper safety belt use by everyone you travel with. Remember: Buckle Up - Every Trip, Every Time. You’ll be thankful you did.