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Along With Watching Out For Weather, Fla. Officials Urge Drivers To Avoid Drowsy Driving

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Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' facebook page

Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is underway, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles are partnering with several law enforcement groups to recognize the importance of the issue.

Because of a Florida law enacted six years ago, the first week of September is designated as Drowsy Driving Prevention Week to educate the public on its dangers.

“This campaign is held each year in the memory of eight-year-old Ronshay Dugans,” said DHSMV spokeswoman Alexis Bakofsky. “Ronshay was killed in 2008, when her schoolbus was hit by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel. So, the realities of drowsy driving are real.”

And, Bakofsky likens drowsy driving to impaired driving.

“It will slow down your processed and reaction time,” she adds. “It affects your judgement, your vision, it can impair your sense and abilities, and it can cause microsleeping, which is nodding off or falling completely asleep, which makes you more prone to crashes.”

She recommends taking breaks at rest stops on long trips, switching drivers when needed, and pulling over if you start to feel tired. The week goes through Labor Day weekend and ends Friday of next week. Bakofsky also adds motorists should be extra vigilant, due to changing weather condition. That includes never driving through standing water.

“If you can’t see the roadway beneath the water, don’t go through it,” she continued. “It may be deeper than it appears. The road may be washed away or concealing some debris or even powerlines beneath it. Slow down when it’s raining or when the roads are slick, decrease your speed to avoid hydroplaning, and of course, make sure that if you have to go out in any inclement weather, buckle up.”

She also encourages drivers to call 511 or visit her agency’s website to check for any road closures. To report any crashes or any suspicious incidents on the roadway, dial *FHP or *347.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.