Health Watch — Start of Summer: Drowsy Driving

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the summer vacation season, and this week on Health Watch we’ll offer some tips to help make the weekend and the summer healthier. If you’re planning a driving trip, make sure you get plenty of sleep first.

Driving while drowsy can be as dangerous as driving drunk. Being awake for more than 24 hours has the same effect on your alertness and reflexes as being legally drunk. Sleepy drivers may experience “microsleeps,” in which their eyes are open, but they’re not really aware of their surroundings. Dr. Nilesh B. Dave, a sleep expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says getting off the road and taking a short nap could save your life. Better still, plan to get at least seven hours of sleep the night before you’ll be traveling and try to avoid driving between midnight and 6 a.m.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in sleep. 


May 2008

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