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Don't 'Fall Back' Too Hard; It's Drowsy Driving Prevention Week®

November 8, 2023

Daylight Saving Time ended on Sunday, November 5. Why do some of us still feel so tired?

Time changes can have serious effects on bodies and minds, so be extra careful in the coming days and even weeks.

Conveniently, Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® is taking place this week from November 13–19, 2023.

“The National Sleep Foundation’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week® encourages everyone to prioritize sleep and drive when they are alert and refreshed. Our goal is to help people get the sleep they need and reduce the number of drivers who choose to drive while sleep deprived,” according to the National Sleep Foundation’s website.

Drowsy Driving Week 2023

The Foundation recently released results from its 2023 Drowsy Driving Survey.

"In our 2023 Drowsy Driving Survey, we wanted to learn more about the attitudes, behaviors, and perceived risks of drowsy driving among teen drivers. Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States. Educating teens, and their parents, about the risks of drowsy driving and the importance of getting the sleep they need before they get behind the wheel can help keep everyone safe on the road," according to the website.

Key survey results indicated that risk starts early for teen drivers. Here are a few interesting statistics according to the National Sleep Foundation's findings:

  • In their first two years of driving, 1 in 6 teens have already driven while drowsy.
  • Most teens say schoolwork and jobs are the main factors that keep them from getting the sleep they need to drive alert.
  • Teen drivers with jobs are more than 2X as likely as those without to have driven while so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open.

While those findings are more specific to young drivers, drowsy driving does not discriminate based on age.

Drowsy driving is dangerous and unfortunately very common. However, it is preventable. Keep these four tips in mind to help you adjust safely.

  1. Be Cautious: Auto accidents and collisions with pedestrians or bicyclists often increase in the days after Daylight Saving Time ends.
  2. Be Vigilant: It will be darker earlier during afternoon rush hour, reducing visibility. This might make it harder to see pedestrians and other vehicles, especially in areas without streetlights.
  3. Be Consistent: Changes in sleep patterns can affect us for up to seven days and being tired increases your risk of injury. Make sure you keep a regular schedule of going to bed to avoid making the change worse.
  4. Be Patient: It might take people a little extra time to complete tasks when DST ends. Plus, days are getting shorter, which can increase stress and depression. Try to be more patient with yourself and co-workers.

SWANA’s five-year Strategic Plan, Forward, Together, reaffirms our core purpose: to advance the responsible management of solid waste as a resource. The first goal in the Strategic Plan is to get off the top 10 list of most dangerous jobs.

Together, we can improve the current state of drowsy driving and safety in general by educating others and advocating for safe industry practices.

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