The road brings on hazards such as bad weather, poor conditions and distracted drivers and when you add fatigue, it can be a deadly combination. The dangers of driving are often overlooked due to how often we’re in a vehicle. However, the National Safety Council states that driving while tired is equivalent to driving while impaired and you are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that in 2015, there were 824 fatalities nationwide due to drowsy driving.
Drowsy driving is preventable. There are many factors that lead to driver fatigue, such as lack of sleep due to long or irregular hours, working or driving during normal sleeping hours and taking medications that make you drowsy. Some signs that you are too drowsy to drive are:
- Frequent yawning and blinking
- Missing road signs or turns
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering parts of your drive
- Drifting in and out of your lane
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open or your head upright
- Inability to maintain your speed
Luckily, there are steps you can take to prevent drowsy driving and stay safe on the road. Here are some tips for staying alert:
- Get enough sleep every night to prevent being tired. Sleep experts state that we should get at least seven to eight hours of sleep nightly.
- If driving for work, start your trip as early in the day as possible.
- Avoid long nighttime drives if you are able.
- If you are driving for an extended period of time, stop and rest every 100 miles or every two hours. During your stop, have a light snack.
- Avoid heavy meals while driving. Eating heavy meals tends to make us drowsy.
- Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medications before your drive. These can increase drowsiness.
- If you start to get sleepy while driving, pull over and take a 20-minute nap in a safe place, such as a rest stop.
If you would like to learn more about how drowsy driving can affect your work and life, visit the NHTSA’s website or the National Safety Council’s website. Being aware of and changing driving behaviors can make a difference and save lives.
Source: Texas Mutual Insurance Company