Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

March 14, 2018
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                   Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


Sleep Awareness Week is March 11-17, 2018

NEW CITY, NY - - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert remind residents that during the first weeks following Daylight Saving Time, which began this past Sunday, drowsy driving crashes occur more frequently. These time changes can disrupt our sleep patterns and affect our body's internal clock. People are likely to be fatigued until their body has adjusted to the time change of losing one hour's sleep.

Drowsy driving results from feeling tired or lack of sleep when you are behind the wheel. When you are drowsy, your reaction time slows, your judgment is impaired, and the risk of being in a crash increases. Even if you fall asleep for less than a second, you risk losing control of your vehicle. Drowsy driving can be just as deadly as drunk, drugged or distracted driving.

Signs of drowsy driving include: yawning repeatedly; struggling to keep your eyes open or focused; forgetting the last few miles driven; tailgating or missing traffic signals; and swerving or drifting between lanes of traffic.

When you are drowsy, ask someone else to drive, or change your plans. You should get some sleep before getting behind the wheel. If you are driving drowsy, pull over into a well-lit area and take a 20-minute nap, or switch with another driver. Opening the windows, turning up the radio, or turning on the air conditioner will not help you stay awake while driving.

Follow these tips to stay alert behind the wheel:

  • Get enough sleep before you drive, especially when going on long trips.
  • Make regular stops or switch drivers every 100 miles or 2 hours.
  • Drivers are most likely to feel drowsy between 1 pm – 4 pm and 2 am – 6 am. If possible, avoid driving during these times.
  • Don't count on caffeine. It can provide a short fix or 'pick me up.' But be aware, it takes 30 minutes before you feel the effect and it can wear off quickly.
  • Avoid prescription and over-the-counter medicines that could make you drowsy. Be sure to discuss this with your health care provider.
  • Never drink alcohol. It slows down your reflexes and causes drowsiness.

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is partnering with the New York Partnership Against Drowsy Driving to remind drivers to "Stay Awake! Stay Alive!" For more information visit