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Tired? Don’t get behind the wheel


Photo: bluecinema/iStockphoto

Drowsy driving is responsible for more than 6,400 U.S. deaths annually, according to the National Sleep Foundation, and you’re three times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle-related crash if you’re driving tired.

Are you at risk? You may be if you’re a shift worker, a frequent business traveler or a long-haul commercial driver. Also, “people with untreated obstructive sleep apnea have up to seven times the risk of falling asleep at the wheel,” NSF says.

Nov. 6-13 is Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. The goal of this campaign is to “reduce the number of drivers who drive while sleep deprived.”

Frequent yawning, trouble keeping your eyes open or head up, missing roadway exits and road signs, and an inability to remember having driven the past few miles are all symptoms of fatigued driving.

Reduce your risk – follow these tips from NSF to help prevent drowsy driving:

  • Get seven to nine hours of sleep before hitting the road.
  • Travel in pairs. “A good driving companion is someone who stays awake to talk to you and will be aware of your alertness,” NSF says.
  • Stop every 100 miles or every two hours.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before driving, and make sure you’re aware of all potential side effects of any medication you’re taking.

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