Avoid Drowsy Driving This Holiday Season

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Thanksgiving is almost here, which means it's the busy season for Texas highways. In addition to reminding motorists to buckle-up and avoid driving after drinking, safety experts are warning the public of another safety concern, drowsiness.

"The most a person really needs to operate a motor vehicle is a two hour time frame. After a couple of hours you need to stop, get out of the vehicle, move around, kind of wake yourself up and take a break for 15 or 20 minutes," said Eddie Carmon, senior trooper, Texas Department of Public Safety.

Mike Nibert is a sleep specialist for The College Station Medical Center. He says there are warning signs of drowsiness drivers should look out for.

"The nodding of the head, the yawning, your inability to stay focused on the activities of driving. Those are all signs and symptoms," said Mike Nibert, The College Station Medical Center.

Experts say most motorists aren't aware just how dangerous it is to drive while drowsy and in fact it could be more dangerous than driving while intoxicated.

"Actually you drive worse when you're tired than when you are intoxicated," said Carmon.

"Studies have shown the affects of driving with sleep deprivation are the same as blood alcohol levels of 0.1," said Nibert.

Nibert says caffeine can sometimes help drowsy drivers, but not for long.

"Caffeine can help stimulate for a short period of time but it is a short stimulant," said Nibert.

More than 30 million Americans are expected to travel by car this Thanksgiving and with so many Texas highways under construction, traffic could be more congested than usual. So to make the highways a little safer for everyone, get some sleep before you hit the street.