Risks of drowsy driving higher with daylight saving time

NEW YORK STATE (WETM) — The New York State Partnership Against Drowsy Driving (NYPDD) is reminding the public of the dangers of driving while drowsy ahead of the daylight saving time change disrupting sleep schedules.

Daylight saving time goes into effect at 2 a.m. on March 10, meaning everyone will sacrifice an hour of sleep on Sunday to have an extra hour of daylight in the evenings during the warm months. The NYPDD is reminding drivers to stay alert amid this loss of sleep with its “Stay Awake! Stay Alive!” message, which can be seen on electronic signs along highways across the state.

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“Even though the transition to Daylight Saving Time is just an hour, the difference can impact your sleep schedule and put you at risk for drowsy driving,” said Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Frank G. Hoare, Esq. “Drowsy driving can have the same effect as driving impaired – it can affect alertness, thinking and decision making, and lead to crashes.”

According to the NYPDD, drowsiness can slow a driver’s reaction time, impair vision, impair judgment, and delay the processing of information, all of which increase the odds of crashing. Sleepy drivers should not rely on methods like rolling down windows, turning on air conditioning, or playing loud music to stay awake.

If you’re feeling drowsy while driving, the safest thing to do is pull over and find a safe place to sleep. The NYPDD also recommends getting adequate sleep before driving, never drinking alcohol before driving, being aware of medication side effects, taking a break every two hours, and bringing a passenger along to take turns driving with.

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