Most drivers wouldn’t dream of drinking and driving. However, many drivers on the road are regularly driving impaired without being conscious of it. You might think getting behind the wheel when you’re fatigued isn’t a big deal, but it can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence.
Like driving drunk, driving drowsy slows down a driver’s reaction times and decreases their ability to pay attention to the road. What’s more, is the more tired a driver is, the worse their driving becomes. Driving after staying awake for 20 hours is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of the legal limit.
How can drivers prevent driving drowsy?
Driving while fatigued puts everyone on the road at risk. According to the National Safety Council, drivers are three times more likely to get into an accident when they drive drowsy. To ensure your safety behind the wheel, you can reduce fatigued driving by:
- Getting enough rest: Most adults require between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to perform optimally.
- Checking your medication: Drowsiness is a common side effect of many different drugs. Be sure to check your prescription labels or ask your doctor whether it is safe to drive while taking them.
- Crash avoidance technologies: Many newer car models are equipped with safety technologies that work to alert you if you are drifting from your lane or displaying drowsy driving patterns.
Signs it’s time to pull over and rest
The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to recognize when you are too exhausted to drive. If you experience the following symptoms behind the wheel, you should find a safe place to stop and rest immediately:
- Frequent yawning
- Difficulty keeping eyes open
- Missing your turn or exit
- Inability to recall driving the last few miles
- Difficulty keeping your head up or “nodding off”
- Drifting in and out of your lane
Motorists shouldn’t take drowsy driving lightly. To avoid severe accidents, make sure you are always alert and well-rested before getting behind the wheel.