Driving while tired and falling asleep behind the wheel causes more accidents and kills more people than you might realize. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths in 2013.
To avoid driving while drowsy it is important that you recognize some of the danger signs. If you catch yourself doing any of the following signs while driving, you should pull over and rest immediately.
Danger Signs of Driving Drowsy:
- Your eyes close or go out of focus by themselves.
- You have trouble keeping your head up.
- You cannot stop yawning.
- You have wandering, disconnected thoughts.
- You do not remember driving the last few miles.
- You drift between lanes, tailgate, or miss traffic signs.
- You keep jerking the car back into the lane.
- You have drifted off the road and narrowly missed crashing.
Don’t let yourself drive drowsy, its important to be well rested when you operate a vehicle. Read the tips below for tips on avoiding drowsy driving.
Get enough sleep. Make sure you have gotten a good night’s sleep before you start driving.
Avoid “down-times.” Drive during times of the day when you are normally awake and stay overnight rather than driving straight through. Take a mid-afternoon break and find a safe place to sleep between midnight and 6 a.m. This is the time when most fatigue-related crashes take place.
Chat with your passengers. If you have a passenger, make sure to talk. Because it is hard to detect yourself, your passenger can let you know when you are showing signs of sleepiness. Either let your passenger drive or pull over and take a nap.
Take a break. For long trips, take a break every two hours or 100 miles. If you show signs of sleepiness, you need to stop sooner and rest.
Remember every time you drive, you need to be fully awake and ready to operate the vehicle. Drowsy driving can be avoided by knowing the danger signs and the tips on staying awake while driving.