Have you ever driven home after a late night without drinking? It turns out, if you're tired while driving, you're putting yourself in just as much danger as if you had been drinking. Whether you are driving for long durations without sleep or driving a normal amount with minimal sleep the night before, your risk for getting into a motor vehicle accident is increased. Learn more about the dangers of driver fatigue and how to protect yourself and others on the road.
Not all tiredness is equal. One thing that makes this topic complicated is the fact that you can't measure drowsiness like you can with intoxication. Regardless, it is important to recognize when you start to feel tired and keep track of warning signs. Symptoms include the following:
- Drifting into another lane
- Frequent blinking or yawning
- Missing your exit
- Not recalling the most recent miles driven
If you start to notice the above symptoms, pull over to a safe and well-lit area for a rejuvenating nap.
While sleepiness can cause crashes in a variety of circumstances, drowsy driving is especially dangerous when associated with these factors:
- Driving when you should be sleeping (12 a.m. to 6 a.m.)
- Driving without a passenger or with a passenger who is also drowsy
- Getting less than seven hours of sleep before driving
- Driving long distances without any breaks
When any of the above factors apply to your situation, it is best to avoid driving to ensure your safety. Driving while dozing off isn't worth getting to your destination faster.
Reducing motor vehicle accidents and personal injuries can be accomplished by taking preventative measures to avoid drowsy driving. Use the following best practices whenever possible:
- Sleep for seven hours or more each night.
- Drive at normal waking hours.
- Schedule regular breaks during long trips.
- Take turns driving with an alert passenger.
- Don't take medications that make you drowsy.
Prioritize safety and responsibility by avoiding drowsy driving just as you would avoid drunk or distracted driving.
There are people out there who would never drive drunk or text while driving but make excuses for drowsy driving. Don't put your safety and the safety of others at risk by getting behind the wheel while tiredness impairs your driving abilities. Next time you want to power through your trip while nodding off, think twice. If you are ever involved in an accident caused by drowsy driving, seek legal representation by an injury attorney.