MDOT Offers Tips on Avoiding Drowsy Driving

To kick off “Sleep Awareness Week”, Maryland’s Department of Transportation State Highway Administration is offering tips for motorists on avoiding driving while drowsy.

Data from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) shows that drowsy driving causes more than 70,000 car accidents each year and being tired at the wheel can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.

Signs that you’re driving while drowsy include yawning and blinking frequently; drifting from your lane; missing an exit or turn; and hitting a rumble strip on the side of the road.

Getting rest is the best way to avoid driving while sleepy, but here are some other tips:

• Plan travel accordingly. Crashes involving drowsy driving occur in the early morning hours, after lunch and late at night;

• Allow ample time between taking medication that makes you drowsy and operating a motor vehicle;

• Avoid alcohol;

• Exercise. Regular activity releases endorphins, the body’s natural stimulant;

• Have a passenger. Someone to talk to helps keep a driver engaged;

• Take a pre-trip nap.

Drivers who nod off are encouraged to pull off immediately to a safe location, such as a park and ride, and take a brisk walk or a brief nap.

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