Health Watch - Travel: Driving While Drowsy

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.


If you’re heading off on vacation this summer, there are some things you’ll need to keep in mind while you’re traveling. This week on Health Watch, we’ll offer tips for healthy travel. Before you load the car for a road trip, make sure you’re well-rested.

You know it’s dangerous to drive when you’re drunk, but sleepiness can have effects similar to alcohol. When you’re tired, you have slower reaction times, decreased awareness and impaired judgment. Being awake for 24 hours is equivalent to being legally drunk. Dr. Nilesh Dave, a sleep expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says even a small amount of alcohol makes the drowsiness worse. If you feel drowsy while you’re driving, pull over for a short nap and have a couple of cups of coffee. Before making a long drive, get at least seven hours of sleep, and avoid driving between midnight and six in the morning, when you’re likely to be sleepier. 

Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/sleep to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in sleep.

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July 2009


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