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“Drowsy Driving Week” follows end of Daylight Saving Time

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Despite the additional hour gained in the time change, it can disrupt sleep patterns, causing people to feel drowsy.

Daylight Saving Time ended at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 7.

National Sleep Foundation (NSF) uses the occasion to begin its Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which runs November 7 to 13.


“The risk posed by driving drowsy or fatigued is known, yet each year police report ‘fatigue/drowsy driving’ and/or ‘driver fell asleep’ as contributing factors in thousands of crashes statewide, resulting in deaths and injuries that are preventable,” said NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Commissioner and Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) Mark J.F. Schroeder. “We urge all motorists to be aware of the warning signs of drowsy driving and pull over safely if they do not feel alert enough to drive. Staying awake and alert behind the wheel helps ensure the safety of all motorists and helps avoid needless tragedies on New York’s roadways.”


CDC says 35 percent of U.S. drivers sleep less than the recommended minimum of seven hours daily.

In a 2018 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey, nearly all drivers (96 percent) say they view drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety and a completely unacceptable behavior.

However, 29 percent admitted to driving when they were so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open at some point.

AAA Foundation also conducted in-depth drowsy driving research in the U.S. using footage of everyday drivers.

It found that the percentage of crashes involving drowsiness is nearly eight times higher than federal estimates. In the 2018 study, researchers examined video of drivers’ faces in the three minutes leading up to a crash.

Using a scientific measure linking the percentage of time a person’s eyes are closed to their level of drowsiness, the researchers determined that 9.5 percent of all crashes and 10.8 percent of crashes resulting in significant property damage involved drowsiness.


AAA has advice for motorists and pedestrians to help keep both safe:

Driving

  • Always watch out for pedestrians when backing up in parking lots or driveways. Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible.
  • Leave more following room. In the morning, when the sun is in your eyes it can be hard to see what the car ahead is doing. Use sunglasses and your sun visor.
  • Be mindful of children and others who are outdoors in the afternoon and evening as it gets dark earlier.
  • Remember to yield the right of way to pedestrians in crosswalks. Do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks.
  • Pay attention and eliminate all distractions including cell phones and car clocks that are off by an hour.

Car Care

  • With 50% of crashes occurring at night, drivers should check their headlights for signs of deterioration and invest in new headlights or, at a minimum, a low-cost headlight cleaning and restoration to boost the safety of driving after dark.
  • Headlights can show signs of deterioration after 3 years but most commonly by year 5. AAA suggests drivers check their headlights for changes in appearance such as yellowing or clouding. If the bulb is difficult to see, it is time to have the lens replaced or restored as soon as possible.
  • Replacement and restoration services are available at most repair shops, including AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities.
  • Do-it-yourself restoration offers some savings for consumers, is relatively simple, and provides a sufficient
    improvement in light output.
  • Make sure headlights are correctly re-aimed to maximize forward lighting performance and minimize glare to oncoming and preceding drivers.

Tips for Pedestrians

  • Cross only at intersections or crosswalks. Look left, right and left again and only cross when it is clear.
  • Do not jaywalk or cross between parked cars.
  • Evaluate the distance and speed of oncoming traffic before you step out into the street.
  • Avoid walking in traffic where there are no sidewalks or crosswalks. If you have to walk on a road that does not have sidewalks, walk facing traffic.
  • See and be seen. Carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing and/or accessories.
  • While walking, pocket the cell phone and avoid listening to headphones at a volume that prohibits you from hearing approaching danger.

Daylight saving time begins on March 13, 2022.

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