Kennewick Police caution you of the danger of drowsy driving. On Monday just after 9 pm, officers responded to an accident at West 10th Avenue and West 8th Place after a car crashed into a fire hydrant and into someone’s fence, before coming to a stop in a homeowner's back yard.

Police determined that neither drugs nor alcohol were involved.  The driver had spent the day hiking out of state and drove for several hours to Kennewick.  He fell asleep at the wheel resulting in the crash.  Fortunately, the man was not injured as the fence posts impaled the windshield, coming within inches of the driver seat.

Police took the man to an area hotel to get some sleep.

According to Sleepeducation.org, drowsy driving is when a person operating a motor vehicle is too tired to remain alert. The driver may have slower reaction times, and impaired thinking. In the worst case, the driver may fall asleep behind the wheel.

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I know when I'm a little tired in the car after driving several hours, I'll roll down the windows or turn up the radio volume.

Warning signs that you need to get off the road are yawning, not being able to keep your eyes open or nodding off, ending up too close to vehicles, and drifting into other lanes or onto rumble strips on the shoulder.

Some ways to avoid drowsy driving:

  • Get a full night of seven to eight hours of sleep before driving
  • Avoid driving late at night
  • Avoid driving alone
  • On a long trip, share the driving with another passenger
  • Pull over at a rest stop and take a nap
  • Use caffeine for a short-term boost
  • Take a short nap after consuming caffeine to maximize the effect
  • Arrange for someone to give you a ride home after working a late shift

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year about 100,000 police-reported crashes involve drowsy driving.  If you're too tired to drive, please pull over and get some rest.

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