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Every November, the National Sleep Foundation dedicates a week to drowsy driving prevention. This year’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week will run from Nov. 1-8, the beginning of which coincides with the end of daylight savings time. During this period, drivers are at greater risk for drowsiness than at most other times during the year. Many people assume that they will gain an hour of sleep as their clocks fall back. Yet, it takes the human body time to adjust to this new pattern.

To decrease your accident risk as daylight savings time ends, it is important to recognize the signs of drowsiness. You must also understand what you can do to combat drowsiness behind the wheel.

Identifying signs of drowsiness

Over one in three adults in the United States does not get enough sleep each night. If you are among these people, you may find that drowsiness is your default state, whether while driving or going about your day. You may fail to acknowledge how tired you are – through no fault of your own – because you are likely accustomed to feeling this way. Yet, your drowsiness makes you three times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than if you were alert.

Some signs of drowsy driving include:

  • Hitting rumble strips
  • Drifting out of your lane or over the road’s center line
  • Being unable to remember the last few miles you traveled
  • Missing your exit or turn
  • Yawning frequently
  • Having difficulty keeping your eyes open

Staying safe on the road

When you feel drowsy while driving, you might – like many motorists – turn to coffee to help you stay awake. Coffee can help you feel more alert in the short-term, especially if you pull off the road and combine it with a quick nap. But these are temporary fixes and are ineffective over long periods.

Coffee and naps are also no substitute for proper rest. If you often feel drowsy while driving, you will want to make a habit of sleeping enough to feel well rested. For adults, this amount ranges between seven and nine hours per night.

While you may do your best to get enough rest, other peoples’ on-the-go lifestyles can make drowsy driving accidents a real possibility. If you sustain injuries in one, an attorney can evaluate your case and help you work toward appropriate compensation.