A reminder as we’re heading into the holiday season that safety when traveling should be advised.

Last year, many of us adhered to the requests to keep a more muted Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration to keep the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic at bay. With vaccines now having been administered to countless adults (and potentially booster shots), and emergency use authorization now permitted for children, we’re seeing more and more buzz that people might be traveling more this holiday season.

Earlier last week along Hwy. 1 there was a stark reminder of one of the hazards of traveling during the fall, a fatality accident caused by a deer entering the roadway. Late fall is one of the times deer are more active, as harvests take away some of the crops they forage on. Keep your eyes peeled when driving to avoid collisions with deer.

With Daylight Savings Time rolling clocks back as well, the early weeks of November are some of the weeks that have more drowsy or tired drivers on the roadways as they adapt to dark skies encroaching earlier.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 697 deaths were caused by drowsy-driving related crashes in 2019. Crashes are most likely to occur between midnight and 6 a.m. or when driving in the late afternoon. The crashes are more likely to occur with single-vehicles running off the road at high rates of speed, especially on rural roads and highways.

The number one tip to avoiding drowsy driving – getting adequate sleep on a daily basis. NHTSA recommends seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

If you’re planning a long family car trip, get a good night’s sleep. Avoid alcohol use and then driving your vehicle. Always check prescription labels to see if drowsiness is a side effect.

If you are driving, avoid driving during the peak sleepiness periods of midnight to 6 a.m. and late afternoon. If you do drive during those periods, remain vigilant for signs of drowsiness, especially if you are driving alone.

If you get sleepy or notice symptoms of drowsiness while driving, pull over for a short 20-minute nap in a safe space, such as a lighted and designated rest stop before continuing to drive.

Being alert and attentive behind the wheel is a way to make all drivers make it safe to their destinations.

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