AAA Colorado reminds drivers: There is more to Daylight Saving than changing your clock

Denver, March 5 – As daylight saving time begins and morning commutes start in the dark, AAA Colorado urges drivers to recognize warning signs of driver fatigue and take action to avoid tragedy.

According to recent research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one-in-five (21 percent) fatal crashes involve driver fatigue. These results help confirm what safety experts have long suspected: the prevalence of drowsy driving is much greater than official statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) currently indicate.

“This new research further confirms that drowsy driving is a serious traffic safety problem,” warned Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Unfortunately, drivers often underestimate this risk and overestimate their ability to combat drowsiness behind the wheel. This is especially a problem when drivers change their driving schedules for reasons such as the move to daylight saving time.”

Previous research from the AAA Foundation revealed that young adult drivers, ages 19-24, are the most likely to admit to driving while drowsy, with 33 percent reporting doing so in the last month. In contrast, the oldest drivers (ages 75+) and the youngest (ages 16-18) were the least likely to report the same offense.

“Despite the fact that 95 percent of Americans deem it ‘unacceptable’ to drive when they are so tired that they have a hard time keeping their eyes open, more than 28 percent admit to doing so in the last month,” continued Kissinger. “Like other impairments, driving while drowsy is not without risk.”

Some warnings signs that may signify drowsiness while driving are:

  • The inability to recall the last few miles traveled
  • Having disconnected or wandering thoughts
  • Having difficulty focusing or keeping your eyes open
  • Feeling as though your head is very heavy
  • Drifting out of your driving lane, perhaps driving on the rumble strips
  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Accidentally tailgating other vehicles
  • Missing traffic signs

AAA urges all motorists to avoid driving if experiencing any of the drowsy driving symptoms. To remain alert and be safer behind the wheel, AAA suggests:

  • Get plenty of sleep (at least seven hours). Go to bed earlier the night before the first daily commute in daylight saving time.
  • Avoid heavy food;
  • Car pool with an alert passenger
  • Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment
  • For longer drives, schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them, and minimize injuries when they do occur. Visit www.aaafoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

AAA Colorado has more than 600,000 members and is an advocate for safety and security for all travelers. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides over 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive related services, as well as member exclusive savings.