WASHINGTON, D.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--When it comes to driving, a full tank of zzz's is as important as a full tank of gas, especially for teen drivers. A quality night's sleep allows for greater alertness behind the wheel, better reflexes and more sound judgment.
Each year, drowsy driving causes hundreds of accidents, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates thousands more go undocumented. GEICO and the National Sleep Foundation have several tips to help teen and adult motorists avoid driving drowsy.
- Get the proper amount of sleep. Adults need about seven to eight hours and teens need nine hours or even more to sustain an upswing in growth.
- Try to develop a routine that includes a reasonable bed time and stick to it.
- Allow a little time to relax before bed. Take a break from the smartphone, tablet, TV and iPod to avoid becoming over-stimulated.
- Eliminate caffeine drinks in the evening
- Exercise earlier in the day
- If you take medications, make sure they don't interfere with sleeping
Aside from nodding off behind the wheel, additional signs of a drowsy driver include yawning or blinking frequently, trouble remembering the last few miles driven and drifting from lanes.
If a driver becomes too tired to safely continue, it is best to pull off the highway and take a 20 minute nap at a rest stop rather than fighting the urge to fall asleep. Caffeinated beverages can help; however, they only provide temporary relief. For long highway trips, it works best to have a companion to split the driving duties.
If you or a member of your household starts showing signs of fatigue, it's best to be proactive and rework schedules to avoid becoming more sleep deprived. These changes may prove difficult at first; however, putting forth the effort to develop a routine that allows for more sleep is one of many ways to become a safer driver.
GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually.