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Drowsy Driving as Dangerous as Drunk Driving

Friday, May 23, 2008 General News J E 4
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NEW YORK, May 22 As people jam the roads and highways overthe Memorial Day weekend, which marks the start of the peak summer drivingseason, there's greater risk of being -- or running into -- a drowsy driver,says the National Road Safety Foundation, Inc., a non-profit group thatprovides free driver safety films and programs including its newest, called"Recognizing the Drowsy Driver."

"A day in the sun can make you tired," says Adele Kristiansson, directorof marketing and legislative affairs at the National Road Safety Foundation.

"Drowsiness is a condition most drivers fail to recognize, and it can beas dangerous as drinking and driving," she adds. "Studies show 60 percent ofus have driven while feeling fatigued, and more than a third admit to havingfallen asleep at the wheel in the past year. Drowsiness is a factor in asubstantial number of traffic crashes."

If you experience any of these warning signs, pull over at the next exitor a safe rest area and take a break or a 20-minute nap. Have a cup or two ofcoffee or caffeinated snacks and allow 30 minutes for the caffeine to enteryour bloodstream. Don't drink alcohol or take medication.

Sleep-induced crashes are often very serious, since the driver does nottake evasive or corrective action as he loses control of the vehicle.

Over the past 40 years, the National Road Safety Foundation has producedfilms and teaching materials that have been used to train millions of youngdrivers about the dangers of drinking and driving, speeding and aggressivedriving. The Foundation's newest program, "Recognizing the Drowsy Driver," isavailable free by calling 1-800-SAFEPATH or visit www.nationalroadsafety.orgfor a free download of it and other driver safety programs.

Contact: David ReichExperts list several signs that should warn a driver to stop and rest: -- Difficulty focusing, with frequent blinking -- Daydreaming or not remembering the last few miles driven -- Head nodding -- Repeated yawning or rubbing eyes -- Drifting out of your lane, tailgating or hitting shoulder rumble strips

SOURCE National Road Safety Foundation
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