Enough sleep or not, driving can make you sleepy. Sitting in one spot, staring at the road – its definitely a way to make even the most alert driver drowsy. Did you know that a drowsy driver is 3x more likely to get in an accident?? !
Learn how you can help prevent yourself from becoming a statistic.
The National Sleep Foundation says that a lot of driving skills can be affected by being tired. If you drive drowsy, you can have a slow reaction time, impaired vision, aggressive driving behaviors, lack of awareness, and reduced hand-eye coordination. They also say a really tired driver can actually experience “micro sleeps” where a person can involuntarily bouts of sleep or unconsciousness. They episodes of ‘micro sleep’ can last a few seconds, which is plenty of time for you to drive the length of a football field at just 55 mph!
What Makes a Driver Drowsy?
Of course if you don’t get enough sleep at night it can cause you to be drowsy, but also people who work swing shifts, people with untreated sleep disorders, certain medications, or even coming off a caffeine or sugar high.
Signs of Drowsiness
You may think you are fine, but you want to keep an eye out for signs of drowsiness for you (or whomever is driving) such as heavy eyelids, frequent blinking, wandering thoughts, missing traffic signals or signs, yawning, restlessness, irritability, suddenly realizing where you are ,etc. IF you get drowsy, consider stopping for a break. Take a walk, drink some coffee, or even get a nap in.
How To Prevent Drowsy Driving
There are a few things to help you prevent drowsy driving such as:
Rest Up – make sure before you get behind the wheel that you are WELL RESTED. Starting off sleepy is a recipe for disaster.
If you are planning a road trip, schedule it so you get plenty of sleep prior to the drive as well as scheduling stops throughout the drive to stretch and if possible, switch drivers every 2 to 3 hours or so.
Be Aware of Medications and Medical Issues
Whether its medication or a medical issue that causes you to be sleepy, be aware and switch your driving habits as needed.
As they say – it’s better SAFE than SORRY. That road trip destination will still be there when ya’ get there!