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Avoiding drowsy driving: 3 things to know to help stay safe

We live in a sleep-deprived society in which countless numbers of products are delivered by truck. It's a dangerous recipe that results in far too many car and truck accidents caused by drowsy driving.

Here are some tips to stay safe and avoid trouble on the road.

Recognize that fatigued driving can be the result of multiple factors.

Not getting enough sleep is can lead to falling asleep at the wheel. This happens more often than you might think. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the percentage of drivers over 18 to whom this has happened may be as much as 1 in 25.

The CDC also notes other factors that contribute to fatigued driving. One of these is the fact that commercial drivers who put in long hours on the road tend to get fatigued by all the driving.

There are also a lot of people with sleep apnea and other untreated sleep disorders, as well as many shift workers who work odd hours and have their sleep rhythms disrupted.

And of course taking medication or drinking alcohol can also cause drowsiness.

Before driving, be realistic about tired you may be and take steps to get proper rest.

Sleep specialists recommend various techniques for helping to get better sleep. Sticking to a sleep schedule is one. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine after certain hours of the day is another.

If you have a significant amount of sleep apnea, it is worth talking with a doctor about the treatments available.

The time change in the spring and fall is a particularly dangerous time for fatigued driving accidents.

Research has shown that November is a particularly precarious time for crashes. Part of this is that commutes home from work are in the dark. But sleep disruption from adjusting to the one-hour time change is also a factor.

The AAA Foundation therefore warns against the dangers of drowsy driving crashes in the days following the time change.

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