Drowsy driving prevention week

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Experts say that drowsy driving is similar to drunk driving in terms of reaction time and impairment in decision making.

Cars driving in Rapid City.

And that impairment can land drivers in some serious trouble.

According to the Triple AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, drowsy driving causes an average of 328 thousand motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. every year, with more than six thousand of those being fatal.

There are some ways to fight off drowsiness when you're behind the wheel.

Robert Finley is the director of the sleep lab.

"The best way to fight off the effects of being sleepy is physical movement and if your driving a car you really can't do that. So if you are with somebody you need to be switching drivers back and forth," said Finley. "Try not to drive and if you are drowsy or your eyelids are drooping and that type of thing you need to get off the road."

Regular healthy sleep is essential for staying awake and alert at the wheel.