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Travelers: beware of drowsy driving syndrome
by Clipper
Jul 04, 2005 | 230 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BOUNTIFUL -- As thousands of Utahns prepare to take to the highways this holiday driving season, AAA Utah is warning motorists to beware of the drowsy driving syndrome. The Fourth of July weekend is traditionally the deadliest holiday for motorists, but falling asleep at the wheel is a dangerous problem throughout the year. "People often stress out as they get ready for vacation and do not get enough sleep before they start their holiday," said Rolayne Fairclough, AAA Utah spokeswoman. "Long hours on the road plus tired vacationers can result in drowsy driver crashes."

The following are warning signs:

- Your eyes close or go out of focus

- You don't remember driving the past few miles

- You have wandering, disconnected thoughts

- You have trouble keeping your head up

- You yawn repeatedly

- You find yourself drifting out of your driving lane, driving on the rumble strip, accidentally tailgating or missing traffic signs, etc.

Ways to avoid driving tired are:

- Get plenty of sleep the night before a trip

- Do not plan to work all day and drive all night

- Plan to drive during the time of day when you are normally awake

- Stay overnight rather than driving straight through to your destination

- Drive with an awake passenger and ask them to help decide when you are too tired to continue

- Schedule a break every two hours or 100 miles

- Find a safe place to stop and nap

"While most drowsy-related crashes occur in the middle of the night, there is also a peak in a sleep-related crashes in the middle of the afternoon," said Fairclough. "These hours are when our natural sleep rhythms set in so it is a good idea to plan your trip with enough time to take a break and nap during these afternoon hours."

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