SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — In just a few days, your drive on our local highways might be a bit more dangerous.
The good news is there will be more daylight because of the time change. The bad news, is more people will be nodding off behind the wheel.
Four out of every 10 drivers say it’s happened to them. According to the American Automobile Association and the National Sleep Foundation, that 40 percent contributes to 100,000 accidents on our nation’s roads every year.
The California Highway Patrol warns that driving drowsy can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Officials say the danger increases for early-morning commuters. Even being off by just an hour can affect the body’s internal clock.
Brian Teft is a traffic safety researcher.
“One can’t just will oneself to make it home,” he said.
And drivers who doze, sleep experts warn, don’t just nod off for a few seconds before they realize they’re asleep—it could be as long as two minutes.
The CHP recommends gnawing on some sunflower seeds, or chewing on gum to help stay awake. Also, when you’re in the car, roll down the window to get some wind and crank up the sound.
Of course if you’re way too tired, the CHP says pull into a rest stop or a safe spot and take a cat nap. Sleep experts say a 20-minute nap taken safely away from traffic can recharge a driver and make them more alert.