When are drowsy driving crashes most likely to occur?
As intuition dictates and data confirms, most sleep crashes occur in the “middle of the night,” during the early morning hours. Less obviously, though, there is also a peak in sleep-related crashes in the mid-afternoon. Our natural circadian rhythms dictate that we will be most sleepy during the middle of our nighttime sleep period, and again about 12 hours later, between 2 PM and 4 PM, and various studies show a peak in crashes believed to be related to sleep somewhere between 2 PM and 6 PM. Back to Top What if I’m already driving and I start to feel tired? What should I do? Take a nap. Naps are beneficial when experiencing drowsiness. Find a safe place (i.e., not the shoulder of the highway) where you can stop, park your car, and sleep for 15 to 20 minutes. A nap longer than 20 minutes can make you groggy for at least 15 minutes after awakening. If you are planning a long trip, or routinely drive for long durations, identify safe places to stop and nap. If you only have a short dista