DAYTON, OH (November 3, 2017) As we prepare to turn our clocks back an hour at 2 a.m. this Sunday, with the end of daylight saving time, many may rejoice for the extra hour of sleep. However, AAA is reminding drivers to be prepared for potential challenges such as changes in sleep patterns that may increase chances of drowsy driving.
“Shorter days starting next week means many of us will be driving home from work in the dark,” said AAA Public Affairs Manager, Cindy Antrican. “The risk of drowsy driving also increases with the time change so drivers should begin taking proper precautions now to ensure they get adequate rest.”
Sleep-deprived drivers cause more than 6,400 deaths and 50,000 debilitating injuries on American roadways each year (1). Ohio Department of Public Safety data from last year reveals that Ohio drivers who fell asleep, fainted or were fatigued caused crashes resulting in 25 fatalities, 1,503 injuries and 1,553 damaged vehicles. Symptoms of drowsy driving can include having trouble keeping eyes open, drifting from lanes or not remembering the last few miles driven. However, more than half of drivers involved in fatigue-related crashes experienced no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel.
“Drivers should not rely solely on their bodies to provide warning signs of fatigue and should instead prioritize getting plenty of sleep in their daily schedules,” continued Antrican.
Research from 2016 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report on sleep deprivation and motor vehicle crashes shows that drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period nearly double their risk for a crash.(2) With drowsy driving involved in more than one in five fatal crashes on U.S. roadways each year, getting less than seven hours of sleep may have deadly consequences.
In addition, data from the 2016 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Culture Index study, shows that “nearly all motorists (95.9%) view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and a completely unacceptable behavior; yet, approximately 3 in 10 (28.9%) admit to driving when they were so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point in the past month.”
“Although the risks of driving while drowsy are well documented, that still does not stop drivers from practicing this dangerous behavior,” added Antrican. “With traffic death rates three times greater at night than during the day, AAA encourages drivers to be proactive in preventing these tragedies by getting adequate rest and being mindful of other traveling drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.”
AAA offers the following tips to help drivers avoid potential crashes:
- Rest Up: Get plenty of rest before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. If you do begin to feel drowsy while driving, pull over immediately and rest or call a family members, friend or 911 for assistance.
- Be prepared for morning/afternoon sun glare: Sun glare in the morning or late afternoon can cause temporary blindness. To reduce the glare, AAA recommends wearing high-quality sunglasses and adjusting the car’s sun visors as needed. Use of the night setting on rearview mirrors can reduce glare from headlights approaching from the rear.
- Car Care Maintenance: Keep headlights, tail lights, signal lights, and windows (inside and out) clean.
- Ensure headlights are properly aimed: Misaimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce visibility.
- Use low beams: When following another vehicle, keep headlights on low beams so other drivers are not blinded.
- Reduce your speed and increase your following distances. It is more difficult to judge other vehicles’ speeds and distances at night.
- Be mindful of pedestrians and crosswalks: Yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks and do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
“The cleanup of thousands of flooded, undriveable vehicles is going to take a Herculean effort,” says AAA Public Affairs Manager, Cindy Antrican. “AAA can use towing resources and roadside rescue expertise to help in the recovery efforts.”
“AAA is pulling together to support Hurricane Harvey victims and, in particular, the relief efforts of our sister AAA club in Texas,” says Tom Wiedemann, President and COO of AAA. “Our associates are making generous financial donations to send tow trucks to Texas loaded with pallets of water and supplies.”
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.