The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is recognizing this week (September 1-10) as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

Partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Trucking Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group, the DHSMV is reminding motorists to get adequate rest before getting behind the wheel, take breaks to remain alert and never drive drowsy.

“Driving drowsy affects your reaction time and ability to focus, and can have dangerous, and sometimes deadly, consequences,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Get adequate rest before you get behind the wheel and employ safe driving techniques if you start to feel fatigue. Never drive drowsy.”

In 2008, eight-year-old Ronshay Dugans lost her life after a cement truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and hit the school bus she was riding. Florida’s Ronshay Dugans Act was formed in 2010 to honor her memory by recognizing the first week in September as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, reminding Florida every year of the dangers of drowsy driving.

“It is important all motorists understand drowsy driving is impaired driving,” said FDOT Secretary Mike Dew. “We want everyone traveling on our roadways to practice good habits behind the wheel and that includes not operating a vehicle while drowsy.”

DHSMV offers the following 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.
  • Drink caffeine. Two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours.
  • Use the “buddy system” and switch drivers when needed.
  • Read the warning information on all medications you take. If it will make you drowsy, do not drive a vehicle.

Visit the DHSMV’s website for more information.