SANTA MARIA, Calif. - California Highway Patrol officers in Santa Maria are reminding people about the dangers of driving while drowsy.
The reminder comes days after we had to turn the clock back an hour for daylight saving time.
Office Ben Smith said drivers tend to struggle to stay alert after daylight saving time ends.
That's because the sunset is coming one hour earlier, leading to an increase in the number of drowsy drivers.
“Drowsy drivers put themselves and others at a risk with slower reaction time and inability to pay attention,” Smith said.
The California Highway Patrol is reminding people of the dangers of drowsy driving, not just this week, but at any time of the year.
The CHP calls it the most preventable type of crash.
“Almost 7,000 collisions involved sleepy drivers throughout the state of California in the last three years. Those collisions resulted in the deaths of 47 people,” Smith said.
Smith said a sleepy driver can be just as dangerous as one under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
So he's urging tired drivers to take a break.
“Pull off at the nearest rest area. We have 86 in California. Pull off, get some rest or get some coffee to wake up,” Smith said.
Reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that getting enough sleep on a daily basis is the only true way to protect against drowsy driving.