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Drowsy Driving Prevention Week | Washington State Patrol

Washington State Patrol roopers see it and hear it all the time.  A driver telling a trooper after a collision, “I don’t know what happened, I must have fallen asleep.” These types of collisions are more common than one might think and just as devastating and dangerous as speeding, drinking and driving, or not wearing seat belts.

Drowsy driving has serious consequences. In 2012, there were 12 fatal crashes involving a drowsy driver on Washington highways.  People who are driving tired or drowsy have impaired reaction time, judgment, vision, awareness of surroundings, and decision making skills. The warning signs of a tired or drowsy driver are trouble keeping your eyes open and head up, difficulty focusing, yawning repeatedly, and missing highway exits or traffic signs.

“Falling asleep at the wheel is just as preventable as collisions caused by speeding or driving under the influence,” said Chief John Batiste, Washington State Patrol. “Just a few simple precautions to prevent drowsy driving could save a life.”

Drowsy driving is such an important issue it prompted Governor Jay Inslee to sign a proclamation   urging citizens to understand the dangers of drowsy driving and to join him in observing National Drowsy Driving Prevention Week from November 11-17, 2013.

Here are some simple tips for staying awake behind the wheel:

• Get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road

• Don’t be too rushed to arrive at your destination

• Take a break every two hours or 100 miles to refresh

• Use the buddy system to keep you awake and share driving chores

• Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness as a side effect

• Avoid driving when you would normally be sleeping

For more information about drowsy driving and how to prevent it visit SleepFoundation.org, DrowsyDriving.org, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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