A few days ago Americans “sprung forward” and added an hour of daylight to their routines. Unfortunately the resulting lost hour of sleep also increases the risk of drowsy driving.
The annual time change tends to disrupt normal sleep patterns and sleep experts say it can take between one and two days for our bodies to adjust to the shift.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 2.5 percent of all fatal crashes and 2 percent of injury crashes involve drowsy driving. A study by the National Sleep Foundation also found that about 25 percent of transportation workers admit that sleepiness has affected their job performance.
Here are a few tips that can help your internal clock get back on track:
- Go to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than usual
- Wake up at your usual weekday time (or even 15 to 30 minutes earlier)
- Start getting ready for bed at least an hour before you intend to go to sleep
- In the mornings, turn your lights on and open the blinds or curtains to help get your day started
For everyone’s safety, early morning drivers should do as much as they can to ensure they are fully awake and alert before hitting the road.