Many people underestimate the dangers of drowsy driving.

If you don’t think driving when you’re tired is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, think again. In 2013, there were over 75,000 accidents, 44,000 injuries, and 800 fatalities caused by drowsy driving. What’s more alarming is that 1 in 25 adults have admitted to falling asleep while driving.

Learning about the signs of drowsy driving is important if you want to avoid putting yourself and others at risk on the road.

Keep reading to learn more about why shouldn’t drive tired and how to avoid it.

Who Is More Likely to Drive When Tired?

ho Is More Likely to Drive When Tired

We’ve all been in a situation where we might be too tired to drive. When it comes to unsafe driving, there are those who are more likely to get behind the wheel when it is dangerous to do so.

  • Shift employees working long hours or overnights
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles like tractor-trailers, trucks, and buses
  • Drivers who have sleep disorders, including sleep apnea or narcolepsy
  • Those who use medications that cause drowsiness

If you are a shift employee or a commercial driver, ensure that your employer has safety procedures in place. If they do not, you should speak with your employer or your Human Resources department to create a safety strategy.

Signs That You Are Too Tired to Drive

Knowing when you should not get behind the wheel means recognizing the symptoms of drowsy driving. Here are few common signs that you should look out for before getting behind the wheel:

Constant Yawning

If you’re too tired to drive, your body will let you know by yawning continually. This is one of the most obvious signs that it is unsafe for you to drive.

Driving Out of Your Lane

Many drowsy drivers have a difficult time staying in one lane. If you are deviating from your lane or drifting back and forth through the lanes, it is likely that it’s dangerous for you to drive.

Trouble With Your Memory

If you cannot recall what exits you’ve just passed, it’s time to pull over. Drivers who can’t remember the last few miles they’ve driven or recent exits are considered impaired drivers. Missing road signs or missing your exit is also common.

Lack of Road Safety

If you’re too tired to drive, you might be engaging in driving maneuvers that are unsafe. This means tailgating, drifting, or braking.

Inability to Keep Your Eyes Open

Another telltale sign that you should not be driving is not being able to keep your eyes open. This is usually coupled with not being able to keep your head up.

If you’ve been involved in an accident involving drowsy driving, click here for trusted legal help in the Houston area.

How to Avoid Driving Drowsy

How to Avoid Driving Drowsy

Driving while tired is comparable to impaired driving. There are several ways to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road by avoiding driving tired.

To avoid driver’s fatigue, here are some preventative measures to ensure that you don’t find yourself tempted to drive while drowsy:

  • Go to sleep early and get a full night’s rest
  • Allow yourself to take a nap if your body is telling you you need one
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule if possible
  • Don’t consume caffeine before going to sleep
  • Stay vigilant for other drowsy drivers on the road
  • Have a lane assistant installed in your car for extra safety
  • Avoid medication that causes drowsiness
  • Avoid driving at night time especially the hours that you normally sleep
  • Take someone with you if you are going a long distance

These are just some of the measures that you can take to make sure that you are rested and alert each time you get behind the wheel. Though they are not always possible, have a backup plan if you find yourself too tired to drive.

What to Do if You Are Too Tired to Drive

What to Do if You Are Too Tired to Drive

Even if you follow all of the preventative measures, you might still find yourself in a position where you are tempted to drive when you’re too tired. It is important to have a system in place so that you don’t put yourself and others in a dangerous situation on the road.

If you are experiencing one or more of the previously mentioned signs, here are a few safety measures that you can take:

Pull Over

If it is safe to do so, the first thing you should do if you realize you’re driving drowsy is pulling over. Getting your car off the road will give you a moment to think about your next steps.

Call a Friend

Call someone and have them talk to you and keep you engaged. Talk loudly and focus your mind on the conversation.

Engage Your Mind

Try to get your mind engaged by playing a mental game. This will help your brain stay alert and help your mind from wandering. Read billboards out loud, or make sentences out of other cars’ license plates.

Have a Nap

If you’ve pulled over and realized that you cannot keep your head up or your eyes open, lock your doors, lean your seat back and have a quick nap. Ensure that you’re in an area where it is safe to do so. Get yourself to a rest stop and have a 20-minute nap before continuing to drive.

Use the Safety Systems in Your Car

Most cars have safety features that are designed to help you avoid a collision. New technology can also detect patterns of drowsy driving. There are lane departure warnings, collision alerts, and warnings to tell the driver when to take a break.

The Bottom Line and Why You Should Never Drive Tired

If you’re tempted to drive tired, remember that it is just as unsafe as driving intoxicated. Knowing the signs to look out for is important if you want to avoid getting behind the wheel when it is unsafe. If you’re yawning, having trouble keeping your head up and your eyes open, and driving out of your lane, you are too tired to drive.

Make sure you have a safe alternative to avoid drowsy driving to keep you and other drivers safe.

If you found this article informative, keep coming back to our blog for road safety and accident assistance.

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