Message of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week: Stay alert |

Message of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week: Stay alert

The Union staff

In an effort to reduce the number of fatigue-related collisions and reinforce its mission of saving lives, the California Highway Patrol joins the California State Transportation Agency and Office of Traffic Safety in a campaign to remind motorists to stay alert during Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, Nov. 3-10.

Drowsiness can impair judgment, reaction time and a driver's attention. This annual campaign provides public education about the risks of driving while drowsy and countermeasures to improve safety on the road.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and contributing to 1,550 deaths.

The following are warning signs that indicate it is time to stop driving and find a safe place to pull over and rest:

— Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking or heavy eyelids

— Difficulty keeping daydreams at bay

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— Trouble keeping your head up

— Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips

— Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven

— Missing exits or traffic signs

— Yawning repeatedly

— Feeling restless, irritable or aggressive.

Drivers who experience any of these drowsy-driving symptoms should stop driving.

Drivers who are far from home should use a rest stop, parking lot or hotel to take a quick nap. Twenty minutes of napping helps clears fatigue. Caffeine can also improve wakefulness.

The CHP recommends planning ahead to reduce the risk of drowsy driving. This starts with ensuring that drivers have had adequate sleep to maintain proper alertness during the day.

Drivers should also schedule breaks during long trips — every 100 miles or two hours.

For more information on drowsy driving, visit

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