The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is leading a Drowsy Driving Prevention Week campaign to remind drivers about the importance of getting adequate rest before getting behind the wheel, taking breaks to remain alert, and never driving drowsy.
FLHSMV is partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Trucking Association, and AAA – The Auto Club Group to recognize September 1-7, 2020, as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.
“Getting adequate rest before getting behind the wheel is the best way to drive safely,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is a sobering reminder that falling asleep at the wheel has deadly consequences and is preventable. We urge all motorists to take responsibility and never drive drowsy.”
FLHSMV is urging drivers to safely pull off the road and take a break if they are having difficulty focusing, yawning repeatedly or drifting into other lanes. Fatigue slows thought processes and reaction time, affects judgement and vision, impairs the senses and abilities, and can cause micro-sleeping (“nodding off”) or falling completely asleep, making it very dangerous to drive. In 2019, there were 3,700 drowsy driving crashes in Florida, which resulted in 224 injuries and 12 fatalities.
“Drowsy driving can be just as deadly as driving impaired or texting while driving,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “It is critical to take a break on long trips, pull into a rest area or seek lodging when you feel fatigued, change drivers to ensure you have adequate rest, and allow plenty of time to travel to your destination.”
FLHSMV offers these safety tips for all motorists to prevent drowsy driving:
- Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep. Get enough rest before you drive.
- On long trips, take a break every 100 miles or two hours. Allow plenty of time to travel to your destination.
- If you start feeling tired while driving, pull over in a safe place and take a nap if you can.
- Use the “buddy system” and switch drivers when needed.
- Read the warning information on all medications you take. Do not operate a motor vehicle after taking medications which cause drowsiness.
Visit FLHSMV’s website flhsmv.gov/drowsy for more information, including statewide data dashboards and shareable resources to spread the word about drowsy driving prevention.