Drowsy Driving: Dangers and How To Avoid It
Drowsy driving is something that everyone has dealt with at some point or another. You’re driving along and suddenly you realize you’re tired. But did you know that drowsy driving is more than just being tired? In fact, it’s a very dangerous thing to do while on the road, and it can result in tragic consequences if not taken seriously.
This article will share a wake-up call about drowsy driving, its dangers, and how to avoid it.
What is drowsy driving?
Drowsy driving is when you’re driving on the road and you feel tired. Drowsy driving is dangerous because it makes it harder for you to focus and pay attention to the road. You may not notice things around you, or react to them quickly enough.
Some people might think that drowsy driving only happens when someone has been awake for a long time without sleeping, like during a long drive across the country. But even if you get enough sleep every night, being tired can still make it hard for your brain to focus while driving-even if all of your other body systems are working fine!
Drowsy drivers can start dozing off in their cars at any time, even if they have just taken a break from driving or have stopped off at a rest stop or gas station. They may be able to stay awake for short periods of time before falling asleep again right away!
The dangers of drowsy driving
Drowsy driving is dangerous. It’s more dangerous than drunk driving. Drowsy driving can cause accidents, injury, and death. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy drivers are responsible for 91,000 car crashes each year that result in 50,000 injuries and 800 deaths.
According to a report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:
- Approximately one-third of all fatal crashes involve either drowsiness or distraction as a contributing factor;
- Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel are seven times more likely to be involved in a crash than alert drivers;
Know the signs
As you drive, look for these signs:
- You can’t stay awake. If you’re yawning all the time or struggling to keep your eyes open, pull over and take a break.
- You are having trouble focusing on the road. If you find yourself drifting off into daydreams and not paying attention to your driving, pull over and take a break.
- Your ability to remember recent events is impaired-you can’t remember why you stopped at this rest stop or where that exit was again. Pull over and take a break!
How to avoid drowsy driving
- Don’t drive when you’re tired. If you’ve been driving for several hours, take a break. Don’t try to push yourself through the fatigue.
- Plan your trip. You can minimize drowsiness by planning ahead and not making any unnecessary stops (like stopping at an unfamiliar gas station in the middle of nowhere) or detours that cause delays in getting where you need to go.
- Take a break whenever possible. Keep an eye on the time between stops, and make sure that breaks are long enough for everyone in the car to wake up again before taking off again-even if this means waiting for half an hour at a rest stop until everyone is ready for another leg of their journey.
- Get enough sleep before setting out on your trip: Research shows that lack of sleep increases risk of accidents while driving four-fold!
Establish a sleep routine
The first step to avoiding drowsy driving is establishing a sleep routine. Try to get your body into the habit of sleeping at the same time every night, and waking up at the same time every morning. This can be tough if you’re trying to sleep during daylight hours-but if you’re able to establish this rhythm, it will help keep your mind and body in sync so that they’re ready for a restful sleep when it’s time.
Try to get a full eight hours of sleep each night, but don’t feel bad if that doesn’t happen; getting as much shuteye as possible will still benefit you greatly when it comes to driving safely. If you find yourself waking up during the night due to stress or anxiety (which often happens with drowsiness), try practicing some calming techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises before returning back under those covers!
Also, remember that having a dark room helps sleep better: turn off any lights in your bedroom (including phone screens), and use blackout curtains/blinds on windows if needed so there’s no light coming through from outside sources such as street lamps or cars passing by nearby streets.
Have naps with caution
When you have to drive, make sure to get a good night’s sleep beforehand. If you aren’t able to do that, a short nap can help keep your alertness up-but it’s not a replacement for sleep.
Naps should always be taken in a safe place, and no longer than 30 minutes. Naps taken at home or work are best; those taken in the car should be brief enough so as not to disturb other drivers on the road. The afternoon is better than the evening for napping because it gives you more time between waking up from your nap and having to drive again later that day or night.
Be proactive when you are planning your trip
When you are planning your trip, be proactive. Don’t wait until the last minute to decide when and where you will drive. Also, don’t decide that today is a good day for a nap after all-you should have considered that earlier in your planning stages.
Planning ahead can help reduce drowsiness while driving by giving you ample time to rest up before starting out on the road. If you know that there is going to be an unplanned stop along the way, take it into account when thinking about how much sleep and food will be necessary before beginning your journey.
Don’t assume coffee will cure everything
Caffeine is a stimulant. It’s not a cure for drowsiness, and it doesn’t help you stay awake for longer periods of time. In fact, caffeine can actually make it harder to fall asleep later, especially if your sleep schedule has been disrupted by drinking coffee in the afternoon or evening.
Caffeine increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which can cause you to feel more alert in the short term but will ultimately leave you feeling more tired than before when it wears off.
Takeaway: Drowsy driving may seem like a harmless thing but it is dangerous and can be reduced by following these tips
We hope this article has opened your eyes to the dangers of drowsy driving and has shown you various ways to combat it. If you’re looking to avoid drowsy driving, make sure to get enough sleep, try to eat a good snack before you go on long drives, and pay attention to stop signs and red lights. Keeping yourself awake behind the wheel is never easy-but if we work together, we can do it.