November 2, 2007

Turning clocks back increases risk of drowsy driving, says National Road Safety Foundation

New York, New York – When clocks turn back Saturday night, roads and highways may become more dangerous, says the U.S. National Road Safety Foundation (NRSF).

“Once we move the clocks back this weekend, the drive home from work or school for many will likely be in the dark,” says Fraydun Manocherian, founder and chairman of NRSF. “The time change, coupled with earlier nightfall, throws off the body’s internal clock, making a combination that is a formula for drowsy driving, a condition many drivers fail to recognize. It can be as dangerous as drinking and driving.”

Studies by the National Sleep Foundation last year found that 60 per cent of U.S. motorists have driven while feeling sleepy, and nearly 37 per cent admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel. The risk of drowsy driving is especially prevalent among teens, who tend to keep late hours and think they can function on minimal sleep.

Signs of drowsiness while driving include difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, rubbing eyes, daydreaming, not remembering the last few miles driven, yawning, drifting out of the lane, tailgating, or hitting shoulder rumble strips. If you experience any of these warning signs, pull over to a safe area, take a break, have a cup or two of coffee or caffeinated snack and, if possible, take a twenty-minute nap.

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