Daylight Savings Time and Drowsy Driving – Dos and Don’ts for Drivers After the Time Change

Photo by  Eugene Triguba  on  Unsplash

Your whole household is flummoxed after the spring time change. Suddenly you’re going to be at about the same time, and getting up an hour early. You’re going to be drowsy in the morning for a couple of days, most likely.

If you are already sleep deprived (and let’s be honest – many of us are), that could spell trouble, especially if you drink any kind of alcohol or caffeinated drinks close to bedtime, which affects your circadian rhythm. Loss of sleep can result in lower concentration, memory, and performance. In fact, drowsy driving can look a lot like drunk driving.

Human Factors Expert and Senior Safety Engineer for Chevrolet Maureen Short started to notice the effects drowsy driving can have while she was in the Army in Iraq, where she witnessed extreme fatigue from her fellow soldiers. Before joining the Chevrolet team, Maureen served in the US Army, where she was deployed to Iraq – this is where her interest in drowsy driving and its potential impairments and dangers became a personal interest to her. She was responsible for the education and training of soldiers across the Army, focused on performance, energy management, and resilience.

In her role at Chevrolet, Maureen studies how human factors affect driving, especially when it comes to drowsiness and drowsy driving. She is also responsible for safety strategy, and works on technology that can ease parents’ minds, such as Active Safety, Lane Keep Assist, and Teen Driver.

She cites the following tips for drivers to avoid driving while drowsy:

DO:

  • Do phone a friend – if you get drowsy driving home from work or on a long journey, ask a passenger to stay awake. Phone a friend with hands-free calling or push your Chevy OnStar button and talk with an advisor.

  • Do get in the game – if you start to feel your mind wander, go old-school and play eye-spy or the billboard alphabet game. Engaging your mind can often help you stay alert, so you can focus on the road ahead.

  • Do use your tech – engage all available active safety features like Chevy’s Lane Keep Assist, which can help alert drivers when they are drifting. Keeping active safety features enabled helps you stay extra aware of your surroundings.

DON’T

  • Don’t rely on that energy drink – there is no better way to tackle tiredness than getting the recommended amount of sleep. If you’re too tired to focus, consider pulling over in a safe place for a nap or find the nearest hotel to get a good night’s rest.

  • Don’t push it – we’ve all tried to get that last 30 minutes of a long journey in or had too early of a start in the morning. Just remember how important it is to stay alert on the road – the consequence of drowsy driving can be devastating.

Signs you are driving drowsy:

  • Continually yawning or the inability to keep eyes open.

  • Inability to recall last few miles traveled or missing exits.

  • Driving from land and/or engaging the rumble strips on the side of the road

  • Frequent tailgating, braking, or other unsafe driving maneuvers

  • Active safety features (like Lane Keep Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and others) have been engaged more than average

Arrive alive. Pay attention to the signs and act accordingly.