Everyone knows that driving while under the influence of alcohol is dangerous and can get you into trouble. But what about driving when you are tired?
Studies show that driving while tired could be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving killed close to 850 individuals in 2014. If you are nodding off in traffic and someone slams on the brakes in front of you, the likelihood of you hitting them increases exponentially.
Warning signs of drowsy driving
A driver's sleepiest time of the day tends to be between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. as well as 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. These are not the only times your body could be fatigued, especially if you had a sleepless night. These are some examples of behavior exhibited when you are driving drowsy:
- Repetitive yawning, to the point where your eyes are watering
- Heavy blinking or periods of time where you close your eyes longer than normal
- Drifting into a different lane or the shoulder of the road
- Almost hitting another vehicle due to lack of response time
- Having a hard time keeping your head up
- Lack of focus
How to stay awake on the road
If you see yourself displaying any of the previously listed behavior, it may be time to find a way to wake yourself up. These are some ways that you can become less bleary-eyed while on the road:
- Power nap: When you feel yourself falling asleep, pull off at a rest stop or gas station and put in a 15-20-minute nap. When you wake up, you'll likely feel more alert.
- Find coffee: Finding a caffeine source will help wake you up. If you are not a coffee person, try black tea, caffeinated pop or even chocolate.
- Stay hydrated: Even just having a swig of water can help your mind stay alert.
- Call a friend: If you don't have someone in the car with you already, phone a friend and have them help keep you attentive.
Drowsy driving is dangerous for you and others on the road. If you feel like you are too tired to drive, it may be wise to get off the road.