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Don't Drive Drowsy

This weekend's time change might make you dangerously drowsy while traveling to or from an agility trial. By Kelly McFaul-Solem


Daylight Saving Time tends to catch people off guard now that it's moved to March, so please be reminded that it will begin this Sunday, March 9, 2013 at 2 AM when most of the country "springs ahead" and loses a precious hour of sleep. Trial secretaries may want to put a reminder about this in their confirmations or mention it at their Saturday briefings! You can read more about Daylight Savings Time here: infoplease.com/spot/daylight1.html

I am sure a lot of you will be traveling for trials, seminars, and so on next weekend so please try to get enough sleep on Saturday night, March 8th, so that you do not feel drowsy on Sunday morning, and be extra alert since there may be many drowsy drivers on the road (not to mention drowsy texters).

Here are some notes from the National Sleep Foundation:

"There are several signs to indicate fatigue while driving, though many people may not associate the symptoms with fatigue or sleepiness and continue to drive when they should stop."  Here are some signs that should tell a driver to stop and rest:

*       Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
*       Trouble keeping your head up
*       Yawning repeatedly
*       Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
*       Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip

Preventing a fall-asleep crash:

NSF says the best way to prevent a fall-asleep crash is to "plan ahead and get plenty of sleep before hitting the road. If you start to feel tired while driving, stop or have a driving companion take over. If you are not stopping for the night, find a safe, well-lit area and take a 15-20 minute nap. Caffeine from coffee or energy drinks can promote short-term alertness, but it takes about 30 minutes for it to enter the bloodstream. Blasting a radio, opening a window, and similar tricks to stay awake do not work."

To read more on the importance of sleep, visit huffingtonpost.com/tony-schwartz/sleep_b_832353.html. For more information about other sleep-related issues, visit NSF's Web site at sleepfoundation.org.

I remind myself of Jane Callaghy's story around this time every year. Jane was a well-known (and loved) agility competitor who died because of drowsy driving. Read about her here (livetorunagain.org/Live_To_Run_Again/In_Janes_Honor.html) and here (livetorunagain.org/Live_To_Run_Again/Home-Live_To_Run_Again_Dont_Drive_Drowsy.html).

Thank you to LRA (Live to Run Again) and TBAC (Tail Blazers Agility Club) for raising awareness on this issue.  They have truly made a difference! And thanks to all you devoted LRA-ers who lug audiobooks around to all the trials. It is greatly appreciated! (The LRA library shares audiobooks so that those who travel to and from agility trials can have something to listen to that will help keep them awake during monotonous drives.)

Sleep deprivation is not a Badge of Honor! Trial and travel safely...and get some zzzzzzzzzz's!

For the past 20 years, Kelly McFaul-Solem has worked for a commercial photo studio in Duluth, Minnesota. She has been playing agility with mixed breeds and Pugs since 1995. Her Pug Shaili is the only of her breed to earn an ADCh. Kelly can be reached at pugahontas@yahoo.com.

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