LAKEWOOD, Saturday Nov. 4, 2023 -- Daylight saving time will end this Sunday, and Coloradans will “fall back” for the biannual time change, which can create a risk of drowsy or fatigued driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drowsy driving is a contributing factor in an estimated 100,000 crashes each year, and the AAA Foundation estimates that 16% to 21% of all police-reported fatal crashes likely involve driver fatigue.
“We know that this change in time can affect the way people sleep and that, in addition to driving more in the dark, can create risk of drowsiness or fatigue behind the wheel,” DMV Senior Director Electra Bustle said. “The DMV wants to remind drivers that if you experience any of the warning signs, don’t get behind the wheel or if you are please pull over safely and take a break. It could be the difference between life and death.”
The DMV is also proud to participate in next week’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, which is hosted by the National Sleep Foundation. The Division hopes to help reduce the number of drivers who drive while sleep deprived, making our roads safer.
The DMV urges drivers to be alert, know the warning signs and plan ahead come Monday morning.
Eight drowsy driving warning signs to watch for:
- Finding it hard to focus on the road, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
- Starting to daydream, wandering eyes and having disconnected thoughts
- Having trouble remembering the last few miles driven
- Missing an exit or ignoring traffic signs
- Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
- Finding it hard to keep your head up or nodding off
- Drifting from your lane, tailgating or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
- Feeling restless and irritable or becoming aggravated with common annoyances such as sitting in traffic.
Before getting into the car with someone or driving yourself, ask the following:
- Are you sleep-deprived or fatigued? Are you suffering regularly from sleep problems? Less than 6 hours of sleep triples your risk of falling asleep while driving, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
- Are you planning to drive long distances without proper rest breaks?
- Will you be driving through the night, mid-afternoon or when you would normally be asleep?
- Are you taking medications that can make you sleepy such as antidepressants, cold tablets or antihistamines?
- Have you been working over 60 hours a week? A tightly packed work schedule increases your risk of drowsy driving by 40%, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
- Have you been working more than one job and your main job involves shift work?
- Did you drink alcohol? Even a small amount of alcohol can have an impact on your body.
Helpful tips for driving, include:
- Planning your trip ahead of time.
- If it is a long-distance trip, ask a friend to join you so they can help drive and monitor for signs of drowsy driving.
- If you feel tired, drowsy or notice any of the signs above, pull over and get some rest and only continue driving when alert.
You can find these safety tips and more at dmv.colorado.gov/drivereducation. The DMV will also share tips on Facebook and X throughout the week to help inform motorists about the dangers of drowsy driving.
For more information on Drowsy Driving Prevention Week, visit www.thensf.org/drowsy-driving-prevention.
The DMV is committed to providing services for all Coloradans where they are needed most, whether it’s in-office, online or on the go. Visit DMV.Colorado.gov/Anywhere to find out how you can DMV anywhere. Yes, anywhere.