Daylight savings has finally ended in New Mexico, and more commuters are driving in the dark as they head into the office or go home for the day. And longer nights mean there will be more drowsy drivers on the roads.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, accidents are three times as more likely during night time hours – especially in the early morning or late at night. Some experts suggested one of the primary causes was due to drowsiness.

The dangers of drowsy driving

The most recent research suggests that drowsy driving is similar to intoxicated driving because it slows down drivers’ response, reflexes and their ability to process their speed. There is also a greater risk of drivers falling asleep behind the wheel.

Luckily, there are ways to prevent drowsy driving before any major commute or road trip:

  • Get a full eight hours of sleep before leaving the house.
  • Do not take medication that makes you drowsiness.
  • Take breaks. Don’t be afraid to get out of the car and get fresh air during long trips.
  • Establish a normal driving routine and avoid driving when you are typically asleep.
  • Eat a small snack before getting behind the wheel.
  • Carpool or switch places with a passenger if you are too tired to drive.
  • Know the signs of drowsy driving, including excessive blinking, missing turns or drifting into other lanes.

If you take extra precautions before hitting the road, you have a lower risk of being in a severe accident. However, it won’t take away the risk entirely because you can’t control other drivers on the road. And there are many drivers who will choose to drive, despite their sleepiness. Make sure to watch out for sleepy drivers during your commute and seek compensation if you are involved in an accident with a drowsy driver.