Often, the dangers of drowsy driving are lost in the shadows of more commonly talked about driving inhibitors such as driving while intoxicated or distracted. At times drivers attach less importance to drowsy driving avoidance because of this. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Council in 2017 alone 91,000 motor vehicle crashes took place due to drowsy driving, leaving 50,000 people injured. Drowsy or fatigued driving is definitely a serious issue, so it’s important to become educated on the subject.
There are certain warning signs to watch for in yourself while you are driving, or in the driver of the vehicle in which you are a passenger. Some of these signs include
- Difficulty focusing
- Frequent blinking
- Frequently missing exits or turns
- Yawning or trouble keeping head up
- Drifting in and out of designated lanes
If driving while drowsy it may not be able to recognize these signs because of your mental state. If you have any doubts at all about your driving abilities due to drowsiness, it is best to avoid driving.
Tips To Stay Alert
There is only one method to combat drowsiness while driving which is to STOP AND SLEEP. No other “remedies” such as taking caffeine, opening the windows, or playing music loudly can keep you safe. These tips may help you avoid drowsy driving before you get behind the wheel.
- Read your medication labels closely for any side effects related to drowsiness
- Driving under the influence is always a bad idea, but combining drinking with drowsiness is a recipe for disaster.
- Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before days where you anticipate spending a lot of time on the road. Adults need around 7 hours, while teens need upwards of 8 hours of sleep each night.
Accidents related to drowsy driving are almost always preventable. Do your part by making the right decisions behind the wheel.