How Teens Can Sleep and Drive Safely
Commit to never driving drowsy. Just like teens should make a commitment to never drive drunk, it’s essential to avoid driving drowsy. Know the risks and signs of drowsy driving, and if you’re feeling too sleepy to drive, pull over and change drivers or take a quick nap. It may also be helpful to stop and stretch or drink coffee if you’re not feeling alert enough to drive safely.
Know the signs of drowsy driving. It’s important to be aware of what drowsy driving looks like, so you can recognize it and pull over before it becomes a problem. Drowsy driving signs include frequent yawning, blinking, or bobbing your head, missing your exit, drifting into the next lane or hitting rumble strips, and forgetting the last stretch of road you drove.
Commit to healthy sleep. It can often be difficult for teens to get enough sleep, but sleep is important not just for driving safely, but for physical and mental health. Teens need eight to 10 hours of sleep, should plan their schedule so that they have enough time to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. Create a healthy sleep schedule, bedtime routine, and sleep environment.
Take care to avoid pitfalls that can interfere with healthy sleep. Late night screen time, exercise, caffeine, and heavy meals before bed can leave you feeling too stimulated to sleep and make it difficult to get rest. Make evenings more relaxing so that you can ease into bed.
Avoid drowsy driving risks. Some actions can put teens at a higher risk of drowsy driving. Driving late at night, eating a heavy meal, or drinking before driving can increase the risk that you’ll be too sleepy to drive, so these actions should be avoided.
Gues Post from Ben DiMaggio a researcher for the sleep science and health organization Tuck.com. Ben specializes in investigating how sleep, and sleep deprivation, affect public health and safety. Ben lives in Portland, Oregon. His worst sleep habit is checking his email right before bed.
Tuck Sleep Foundation is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.