If you are like most Americans, you are probably upset about losing an hour of sleep due to daylight savings.
The first few days can become challenging as your sleep pattern is interrupted leaving you sleep deprived, which can lead to drowsy driving.
In most cases, we do not consider the impact of daylight savings has on teen drivers.
This time of the year brings longer days and shorter nights.
Teenagers are more inclined to hang out with friends or work part-time hours into the late nights. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teens get nine hours of nightly sleep.
However, high school students lose approximately 32 minutes per night of sleep following the change to daylight savings.
The loss of sleep shows a decline in vigilance and cognitive function which raises safety concerns for teen drivers.
The National Sleep Foundation, reports that adults under the age of 29 are 71 percent more likely to drive while drowsy compared to 52 percent of older adults.
Sleeping fewer than five hours a night increases the risk of a collision by four to five times. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, drowsy-driving crashes claimed 795 lives.
Fatigue can costly effect the safety and health of a young adult when they need adequate sleep at this stage in life.
Here are some tips to help manage your new driver during this transition period:
- Get enough sleep – Experts advise people should get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Talk to your kids about the risk of drowsy-driving and alternate options in the event they find themselves tired on the road.
- Plan ahead – This may affect your morning commute or to prepare yourself to arrive to your destination before it gets dark. For longer road trips, bring a friend that can help share the responsibility of driving.
- Stop driving – Pullover in a well-lit area to take a 20-30 minute power nap or stretch your body.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medications that make you drowsy. Read your over-the-counter and prescription medication labels to see if drowsiness will affect your ability to drive.
- Avoid distractions – It is tempting to grab your phone to keep you awake on the road, but this can be another distraction. Texting and driving is just as dangerous as drowsy-driving.
At Sutliff & Stout, we know how important your teen’s safety is to you. If you or a teenager you know were injured in an accident, contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can evaluate your case.