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SafetyBe Prepared: What to Carry in Your CarKeep the following items in your car in case you have a flat tire, are stranded by weather or have some other roadside emergency.Kids and Car SafetyWhether you're driving across country, taking the kids to Grandma's or just acting as local carpool captain, keeping your young passengers safe should be your number one priority. Child Car Seat Safety GuidelinesWith the wide selection of car seats on the market, how do you know which one to buy, and when to switch from one style to another? And how important are car seats anyway?Driving in the RainHere are some helpful hints on preparing your car and planning ahead for wet road travel.Driving in the WinterWinter driving can be hazardous. Be safe, be smart, by following these tips.Improve Your Night-Driving SkillsHere are some tips, courtesy of Bridgestone Winter Driving School, to improve your night-driving skills.Prevent Drowsy DrivingFeeling tired but unwilling to pull over and take a break? Driving drowsy is risking your life—and those of other drivers!12 Winter Driving Tips from ExpertsWe talked with snow plow drivers and auto technicians across the country – they see it happen and fix your car after that spin-out. Here's their advice:5 Safe Driving TipsThese tips are from police officers and those who have first-hand experiences with car-related emergencies. Pet Safety and Your CarWe've been bombarded with car-seat safety for children, airbag safety for infants, and seat-belt use for everyone. But how safe are your pets in your family vehicle? Animal safety in cars is critical to your best friend's safety. Share the Road Start Seeing MotorcyclesWe asked motorcyclists to share their pet peeves about drivers. Let's all do our part to share the road and get along.5 Common Winter Driving MistakesDo you make the following winter driving mistakes?
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Prevent Drowsy Driving

Feeling tired but unwilling to pull over and take a break? Driving drowsy is risking your life—and those of other drivers.

Drowsy Driving Statistics:

According to a 2009 Sleep in America poll, more than one-half of adults (54%)—potentially 110 million licensed drivers—have driven when drowsy at least once in the past year and nearly one-third of drivers polled (28%) say that they have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving a vehicle.

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report showed that in recent years, there are approximately 56,000 crashes annually in which driver drowsiness/fatigue was cited by police.

Studies show that being awake for more than 20 hours results in an impairment equal to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08%, the legal limit across America.

It's not only the long trips that can trigger a need for sleep, says Randy Sturdivant, vice president of Vertical Alliance Group. "There is a common misconception that drowsiness only happens on very long trips/drives. But in fact, studies show many cases of drowsy driving actually result from lifestyle choices that can cause problems even on fairly short drives of less than an hour. In particular, if lack of sleep is combined with alcohol use, a driver may not be able to recognize when it is time to get out from behind the wheel."

Warning Signs

With that in mind, here are some warning signs from DrowsyDriving.org that it's time to pull over and get some shut-eye:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
  • Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts
  • Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
  • Feeling restless and irritable

Countermeasures

Here are some tips to get you ready for your journey.

  • Get enough sleep the night before.
  • Don't drink alcohol and be aware of the sedating effects of certain medications.
  • Take rest breaks every 100 miles or so.
  • Travel with a companion so you can talk with them.

As for coffee, while a cup or two can help, it takes at least 30 minutes for a "java jolt" to kick in. Plus, if you are a regular coffee drinker, it will be less effective.

See Something?

Do you see questionable driving? Sturdivant points out that, first of all, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a drowsy driver and a driver who is under the influence, since the driving behavior can be similar.

"In either case, the first step is to stay as far away from the suspected drowsy or impaired driver as possible," he says. "Then, you have the option to pull over and call your local police department to report the incident and have them check it out. This action is recommended not only for the protection of others on the road, but also the drowsy driver, who may not even be aware of his or her dangerous condition."

Additional Information

For more tips, visit the following sites:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

DrowsyDriving.org

NHTSA Drowsy & Distracted Driving

Other Car Pages
Safety12 Winter Driving Tips from Experts

We talked with snow plow drivers and auto technicians across the country – they see it happen and fix your car after that spin-out. Here's their advice:

 Read More
5 Common Winter Driving Mistakes

Do you make the following winter driving mistakes?

 Read More
5 Safe Driving Tips

These tips are from police officers and those who have first-hand experiences with car-related emergencies.

 Read More
Be Prepared: What to Carry in Your Car

Keep the following items in your car in case you have a flat tire, are stranded by weather or have some other roadside emergency.

 Read More
Child Car Seat Safety Guidelines

With the wide selection of car seats on the market, how do you know which one to buy, and when to switch from one style to another? And how important are car seats anyway?

 Read More
Driving in the Rain

Here are some helpful hints on preparing your car and planning ahead for wet road travel.

 Read More
Driving in the Winter

Winter driving can be hazardous. Be safe, be smart, by following these tips.

 Read More
Improve Your Night-Driving Skills

Here are some tips, courtesy of Bridgestone Winter Driving School, to improve your night-driving skills.

 Read More
Kids and Car Safety

Whether you're driving across country, taking the kids to Grandma's or just acting as local carpool captain, keeping your young passengers safe should be your number one priority.

 Read More
Pet Safety and Your Car

We've been bombarded with car-seat safety for children, airbag safety for infants, and seat-belt use for everyone. But how safe are your pets in your family vehicle? Animal safety in cars is critical to your best friend's safety.

 Read More
Prevent Drowsy Driving

Feeling tired but unwilling to pull over and take a break? Driving drowsy is risking your life—and those of other drivers!

 Read More
Share the Road Start Seeing Motorcycles

We asked motorcyclists to share their pet peeves about drivers. Let's all do our part to share the road and get along.

 Read More