How to Avoid Driving While Drowsy
Being alert while behind the wheel is important for the safety of you and others. Things can happen unexpectedly, and as a driver, you may need to make some quick decisions to avoid an accident. However, if you are tired or sleepy when driving, it could severely impair your ability to driver. Some studies have concluded that driving tired as just as bad, if not worse, than driving under the influence. According to the NHTSA in 2013, drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths.
Those Who Are at Higher Risk
While everyone could be at risk for feeling drowsy behind the wheel, there are certain groups who are more prone to it. These include:
- Night Shift Workers
- Commercial drivers
- People on medications that cause drowsiness
- Those with sleep disorders
Signs to Watch Out For
These tell-tale signs of sleepiness could help indicate when the driver is getting tired. Watch out for:
- Frequent Blinking
- Drifting from the lane
- Missing exits or turns
- Inability to remember the past few miles
How To Prevent Driving Tired
The best option is to prevent driving while tired. It can prevent accidents and collisions from happening. These are some tips to prevent drowsy driving:
- Get plenty of sleep! The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Go to bed at a time that will allow you to get the recommended amount of sleep.
- If you think you may have a sleep disorder, consult a doctor. They may be able to help you with treatment options.
- If you are taking any medications, check the side effects. Some medications will make you sleepy.
- Take a nap. Sometimes a quick nap can help ward off unwanted sleepiness. If you can’t get enough sleep at night, a nap might help you stay alert and focused.
What To Do If You Get Sleepy While Driving
- Call someone to bring you home. If you feel yourself getting sleepy, you may want to find an alternative way to get home. Calling a friend or family member to come pick you up is a safer option. You can also use a taxi or ride sharing apps to get you home safely.
- Grab a power nap. While naps are handy tools during the day, if you find yourself in a situation where you are feeling tired, pull over somewhere safe a get in a power nap. Even 20 min of sleep could be enough to refresh your brain. Of course, make sure you are in a safe location to do this.
- Take advantage of new technologies. In newer cars, there are often safety systems to alert drivers of drifting into another lane or a potential crash. If you have these systems in your car, make sure they are on.
- Don’t rely on quick fixes. Unfortunately, downing some coffee or blasting tunes on the radio might not be enough to keep you safe. Though these are common ways to ward off sleepiness, they’re not the most effective. It’s better to pull over than to try to push through the tiredness.
Try to be proactive and take steps to avoid driving while tired. Getting proper rest is one of the best things you can do to stay safe on the road. Your auto insurance is there for when accidents happen, but it’s always best to prevent them if you can! Drowsy driving is a serious risk, so try to avoid it!