CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - Falling asleep while driving is all too common in the United States and the Department of Public Safety calls it "fatigued" driving. Last year more than 160 people died as a result of "fatigued" driving.
Many families will hit the road for the Christmas Holiday and whether individuals plan on traveling across state lines or just a few hours away it is vital that while behind the wheel they stay focused.
Some individuals may think it is common sense on how to prevent falling asleep behind the wheel.
"Use music to keep you awake, use the windows to roll them down if you have to get fresh air into the car," said defensive driving instructor Ray Stephan.
When individuals think they are fine while driving it can creep up, and their head can start nodding, and the eyes can get heavy.
"Even at ten o'clock at night and you're driving through a long period of road travel. your body is going to get tired," Sergeant Nathan Brandley said. "You are going to get weary."
Stephan has been in the business for 16 years.
"It does happen quite occasionally especially these holiday seasons that come around because people don't realize the importance because they aren't used to driving," Stephan said
A daily commute is vastly different than a road trip.
"We recommend that a person drives two hours on a stretch and take a break or 100 miles: either or," Stephan said.
When someone's body has been in a seated position for an extended period, it can become too relaxed. Experts recommend taking the time to get gas or go to a rest stop.
"Do anything you can to get the blood flowing and moving a little bit," Brandley said.
If individuals have a group of people, it is recommended to take turns to make sure the front passenger is the co-pilot.
"It's not allowed, or they shouldn't be allowed to go to sleep," Stephan said. "They need to keep you interested in conversation.
Experts also recommend not to drive more than 8 hours a day and if that occurs to schedule an overnight stay at a hotel.
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