March 12, 2007

Daylight savings time increases risk of drowsy driving, foundation says

New York, New York – The one-hour time change to daylight savings can make roads more dangerous, according to the National Road Safety Foundation Inc., a U.S. non-profit group that provides driver safety programs.

“The change throws off our internal clock, and it can take as long as two weeks for our bodies to adjust,” says Adele Kristiansson, the foundation’s director of marketing and legislative affairs. “Drowsiness is a condition most drivers fail to recognize, and it can be as dangerous as drinking and driving. Studies show 60 per cent of us have driven while feeling fatigued, and more than a third admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Drowsiness is a factor in a substantial number of traffic crashes.”

Drivers should stop and rest if they experience difficulty focusing, with frequent blinking; daydreaming or not remembering the last few miles driven; head nodding; repeated yawning or rubbing eyes; or drifting out of the lane, tailgating or hitting shoulder rumble strips. If these happen, pull over at the next exit or safe rest area and take a break or a 20-minute nap, or have a cup or two of coffee or caffeinated snacks, and allow 30 minutes for the caffeine to enter the bloodstream.

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