Florida Highway Patrol urging drivers to stay safe and awake thi - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Florida Highway Patrol urging drivers to stay safe and awake this holiday weekend

LAKE WORTH, Fla. - Florida Highway Patrol urging drivers to stay safe and awake this holiday weekend.

"If you're going to drive, get plenty of rest. Don't be afraid to take breaks," said Sgt. Mark Wysocky.

Sgt. Wysocky says driving while tired is just as dangerous as driving while drunk.

Last year, 14 people died on the roads due to drowsy drivers.

"You're going to have a lot of the same characteristics of a drunk driver. You might be swerving from one side of the lane to the other."

He says the highway has a tool to keep drivers alert.

They're called rumble strips, and if you drive over them, you'll notice.

"So you would hope that they would wake someone up. And that would be a clue to them to stop and rest," Wysocky said.

Winnyanne Nelson is one of those driving during the holiday weekend.

She and her husband are traveling from Miami to Orlando to watch a football game.

The two stopped at a toll plaza in Lake Worth to fuel up.

"We just stopped by to get some coffee and sustenance," Winnyanne says.

The couple says they got a lot of rest the night  before their drive, and made sure to get caffeine.

They also took the advice of FHP, and used the "buddy system," switching drivers every few hours.

"Just now, we were discussing 'Are you ok to drive?' So you have to have that discussion," she says.

Troopers say it's crucial you avoid driving during hours when you would typically be sleeping.

They also urge drivers to read the warning labels on new medications. If one of the side effects is drowsiness, don't drive until the medication has worn off.

They also encourage drivers to take a break every two hours.

Most importantly, always drive sober. Troopers say one drink is too many, especially when you're tired.

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