March 6, 2014
ODOT Public Affairs
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext 247
This weekend, Oregonians will “spring forward” by setting clocks ahead one hour (officially at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 9). Disrupting our normal routines can create hazards on the roads, such as when a sleepy driver gets behind the wheel. In 2012 in Oregon, seven people died in crashes involving a drowsy driver. From 2008 – 2011 in Oregon, 56 people died in crashes involving drowsy drivers. Though other factors may have been involved, most of these tragic crashes could have been avoided.
Young drivers are especially likely to experience drowsiness because they tend to stay up late, sleep too little and drive at night. The Oregon Department of Transportation and safety advocates offer these tips for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians:
Prevent drowsy driving!
* Get a good night’s sleep. While this varies from individual to individual, sleep experts recommend between 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults and 8 1/2-9 1/2 for teens.
* Drive longer trips with a companion. Passengers can help look for early warning signs of fatigue or switch drivers when needed. Passengers should stay awake to talk to the driver.
* Schedule regular stops, every 100 miles or every two hours.
* Be aware of one another: bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers should be aware that drowsiness could be in play, especially the first couple of days after the time change.
Recognize the signs of drowsy:
* Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
* Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts
* Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
* Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
* Trouble keeping your head up
* Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
If you are getting drowsy:
* Pull over at the next safe exit or parking area; if you wait, it could be too late.
* Take a 15 to 20-minute nap – studies show this is enough for most people to be completely rested. (More than 20 minutes can make you groggy for at least five minutes after awakening.)
* Consume the equivalent of two cups of coffee. Caffeine is available in various forms (e.g. soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee, tea, chewing gum, tablets) and amounts. Keep in mind, caffeine takes about 30 minutes to enter the blood stream and will not greatly affect those who regularly consume it.
* Some folks get the best results by taking caffeine and then a short nap: you can maximize the benefits of both.
* Take a brisk walk in the fresh air, in a safe, well-lit location.
More information about being safe behind the wheel is available at www.drowsydriving.org.
### www.oregon.gov/OSP ###