The days are finally getting longer, which means more time for you to have fun and enjoy time in the warm sun. However, any change in sunlight can disrupt your internal clock for a few days or weeks. You might find yourself getting drowsy about the time you are ready to leave work, or you could have difficulty getting yourself going in the morning. You and other Tennessee residents need to understand the dangers of drowsy driving.

Driving while sleep-deprived may in fact be as dangerous as drunk driving, reports the National Sleep Foundation. How is this so, you may wonder. When you are groggy, dazed or having trouble keeping your eyes open, your reaction time can be slowed down. You might miss changes in traffic or other road hazards. If you fall asleep behind the wheel, you will not be consciously operating your vehicle and, of course, would be seconds away from getting into a potentially serious crash.

Before going for a drive, consider these tips to avoid drowsy driving:

  • Address chronic sleep problems with your doctor.
  • Avoid driving after taking medications that cause sleepiness.
  • Plan for a good night’s sleep the night before leaving on a long trip.
  • Take someone with you, if possible, to switch driving on a trip.
  • Pull over if you feel yourself nodding off or unable to keep your eyes open.

It is important to remember that sleepiness can cause an accident even during short trips and not only when you are on the road for longer periods of time. Drowsy driving reportedly causes 100,000 accidents across the United States every year, resulting in 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries. If you are aware of the risks and take measures to prevent drowsy driving, you may keep yourself and others safer on the roads.