That one hour of extra sleep that was available to us last weekend can still be disruptive to many drivers. That’s why, twice a year, it’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, or following the time changes. Highway Patrol Officer Ian Hoey says it can be as much of an impairment as drugs or alcohol. He says there is statistical evidence supporting a spike in accidents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say going without sleep for at least 18 hours is the same as having a blood alcohol content of point-05-percent. But Hoey says that doesn’t necessarily mean patrols are on heightened alert.
Cal Trans is also using its electronic changeable message signs along highways to raise awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving. It maintains more than 80 roadside rest areas. Some suggested tips to avoid nodding off at the wheel include getting at least seven hours of sleep a night, sticking to a sleep schedule, and avoiding alcohol and certain medications before driving.