Drowsy driving is not something anyone should take lightly. In fact, it is the cause of thousands of vehicular crashes every year, according to statistics.
Now, if you’ve had a long day and find yourself yawning and struggling to stay awake, you may be putting yourself as well as others at risk.
So, before you even consider getting behind the wheel in this type of condition, learn who is at risk of drowsy driving and find out ways to avoid it.
While anyone can be susceptible to drowsy driving, these types of drivers are more likely to drive drowsy:
Drivers who don’t get sufficient sleep
People who work nights and long hours
People who are using certain kinds of medicines
People who are suffering from sleep disorders
While it’s not quite easy to determine when you are too exhausted to drive, here are several signs that you might need to take a break.
If you are frequently blinking, have a difficult time focusing or your eyelids feel heavy.
If you find yourself daydreaming or your mind is wandering.
If you are missing exits or traffic signs or having trouble remembering things.
If you find yourself yawning a lot or rubbing your eyes.
If you are finding it hard to keep your head up.
If you are straying from your lane, bumping a shoulder rumble strip or tailgating.
If you are feeling irritable or restless.
When someone is too tired to drive, not only are they putting themselves in danger, but also other people and motorists. The most common causes of drowsy driving are:
Insufficient, interrupted or fragmented sleep
Sleep disorders like chronic insomnia or narcolepsy
A work schedule that disrupts a person’s circadian rhythm and amount of sleep
Taking alcohol or narcotics
Ingesting sedatives before driving
Long hours of driving without any rest
Before you get behind the wheel, there are certain precautions you can take to ensure you avoid suffering from drowsy driving and putting yourself and others in danger.
1. Get adequate sleep. This tip is straightforward, but many drivers seem to take this advice lightly. The average adult needs to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
2. Take a nap. Before you get behind the wheel, it’s a good idea to take a short nap, especially if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. If you’re going on a long drive, you can also look for a safe place and take a quick power nap.
3. Have a driving buddy. If you are planning to go a road trip and drive for hours on end, it’s a big advantage if you have a driving partner. You can pull over every few hours and take turns. One can drive while the other rests.
4. Stick to your sleep schedule, if possible, even on weekends. Make sure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Keep it dark and quiet.
5. Avoid drinking alcohol. Even the smallest quantity can affect your alertness.
6. Drink beverages with caffeine. This will give you a quick boost. But remember that its effects will only last for a short time.
7. Don’t resist the urge to sleep. If you notice all the glaring signs that you are fatigued and need sleep badly, just pull over and rest.
Always remember that prevention is the best cure. If you are well-rested, you reduce the risk of crashing your vehicle and injuring others.
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