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When are drowsy driving crashes most likely to occur?

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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 ... more
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