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Driving While Drowsy? Tips to Stay Awake

From the Show: Staying Well
Summary: More than 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths are caused by drowsy driving each year. It is even considered to be more dangerous than drunk driving.
Air Date: 10/28/13
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Anne Wheaton, PhD
Dr. Anne Wheaton is an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and part of CDC's Sleep Health Program.

She joined the CDC in 2009 after receiving her PhD from Emory University's Nutrition and Health Sciences program and has been researching insufficient sleep, sleep disorders and related issues ever since.

She has published papers using data from CDC's surveillance systems on various topics including perceived insufficient sleep and body weight, sleep-disordered breathing and depression, sleep duration and hypertension, as well as drowsy driving.
Driving While Drowsy? Tips to Stay Awake
If you have a long car trip planned but feel like you're too tired to drive, you shouldn't be getting behind the wheel. Driving drowsy can make you less attentive, slow your reaction time and affect your ability to make quick decisions. Recent research has shown that drowsy driving causes even more damage than drunk driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Association, more than 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths are caused by drowsy driving annually. Most of these accidents occur between the hours of 1-6 am, since your internal clock isn't fighting you to stay awake.

The National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll and found that 60 percent of adult drivers say they have driven while they've felt drowsy. More than a third reported they have fallen asleep behind the wheel, with four percent of those resulting in a car accident, or an "almost" accident.

Epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and part of CDC's Sleep Health Program, Dr. Anne Wheaton, PhD, discusses why you shouldn't drive drowsy and shares some tips to stay awake if you absolutely need to drive.

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