New Baby? Less Sleep? Drowsy Driving Information for New Parents

Drowsy Driving Puts You, Your Baby and Others at Risk

New baby. You're exhausted. Getting enough sleep after bringing a new baby home can seem impossible. But getting enough sleep is essential.

Lack of sleep affects your mood and your ability to think, remember, learn and react quickly - a key to driving safely. In fact, driving when drowsy can put you, your baby and others in the road at risk for injury and even death if a crash happens.

There's no replacement for sleep.

But, I'm Just Tired, That's All

Being drowsy behind the wheel can be as dangerous as driving drunk. Both slow your reaction time and reduce your ability to think and react quickly.

Find wasy to get as much sleep as you can. If you're too tired to drive, ask someone to help, take public transportation or reschedule your activities so you can arest first.

Tips to Help You Sleep Better

To improve how much and how well you sleep with a new baby, follow these steps:

  • Have a set routine for you and the baby, as much as possible. Try to maintain the schedule.
  • Sleep when the baby sleeps. Even if you can only nap for 20 minutes, that will help you feel refreshed. Try to nap in a darkened room and rememeber to turn the phone off.
  • Ask family and close frineds to watch the baby for you when you need to sleep.
  • Eat nutritious meals and snacks throughout the day. Do not eat a heavy meal just before bed.
  • Do not drink coffee, tea, soda or alcohol in the evening. Caffeine is a stimulant and disrupts sleep. Alcohol may make you feel sleepy at first, but it will affect how well you sleep.
  • Exercise regularly, at least 3 hours before bedtime. Make sure to talk with your doctor before beginning any physical activity.

Driving Tips

  • Get enough rest before you drive, especially on longer trips. If you begin to feel drowsy, share the driving with a licensed driver.
  • Take a break at least every two hours or every 100 miles. Find a safe rest area to pull off and take a short nap. This helps more than opening the window, turning up the radio, or drinking coffee, tea, or soda.
  • Avoid driving between 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. as these periods of time are when people are most likely to feel drowsy.

Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

If any of the following signs occur, pull over in a safe rest area to take a nap or switch drivers:

  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Not being able to pay attention, keep eyes open or head raised
  • Not remembering the last few miles traveled
  • Having wandering or disconnected thoughts
  • Drifting out of the lane or hitting rumble strips

For more information on getting better sleep and drowsy driving visit these web sites:

Funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with a grant from the New York State Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

State of New york
Department of Health

Pub. 3100
Ver. 8/07