Have you ever found yourself struggling to stay awake while behind the wheel? With the time change from daylight savings, and lack of adequate sleep, many people can say that they’ve caught themselves dozing off at the wheel at some point while driving. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is kicking off their ‘Drowsy Driving’ week starting today to try to encourage drivers to make smarter choices before getting behind the wheel. Our Morgan Koziar caught up with the Safety Press Officer for PennDot District 9, Monica Jones-Owens to talk about the campaign. Monica shared some statistics from the National Safety Council about the dangers of driving fatigued. Monica says getting 6-9 hours of sleep a night is important to stay focused and alert while driving. “There are many distractions on the roadways like deer, and changing weather conditions, and driving fatigued can significantly delay your response rate which is extremely dangerous when making split second decisions on the road,” says Monica. What many people don’t realize is that according to the National Safety Council, losing 2 hours of sleep is equivalent to having 3 beers.
Monica says our society is so concerned with being on the go, that we ignore the fact that our bodies might not be able to realistically catch up. Even the people that drive for a living have to be conscience of their arrival times, and often times sleep on the go, but Monica says even pulling over for a 10 minute power nap can significantly help you feel better, “maybe pull off the road for 10 minutes, and take a power nap, roll the window down and let some cool air blow and get you alert again, turn on the radio, have a passenger, have a friend to talk to to make sure you’re staying alert.”
Monica says that PennDot decided to roll out the campaign this week as many folks might be adjusting to the time change from daylight savings time. PennDot recognizes that every year too many people have been injured or lost their lives from an accident involving a drowsy driver, and they’re working to keep people on the roadways safe.