It is common knowledge that distracted driving causes accidents, and most states have banned cell phone use while driving.
However, there is another culprit in motor vehicle accidents that is more difficult to regulate but just as dangerous.
It is not uncommon to drive when feeling a little tired, as many people do not get sufficient sleep.
However, making the decision to get behind the wheel when you are feeling exhausted can be incredibly dangerous. The Sleep Foundation states drowsiness affects the following:
- Reaction time
The most obvious prevention strategy is to not drive when you are feeling tired, but what level of drowsiness will affect your ability to operate your vehicle? Oftentimes, it is the car ride itself that lulls people into fatigue. However, you can take steps to be a safe, alert driver.
If driving long distances, take regular and frequent breaks. Pull into a rest stop to walk around, eat some food or even take a quick nap if allowed. When driving with license-holding passengers, consider taking turns at the wheel.
Knowing when to pull over or switch drivers is crucial. Watch out for warning signs like blurred vision, excessive yawning, frequent blinking or slowed reaction times. Are you feeling aggravated? Is your mind wandering continuously? These are also signs of fatigue. Do not be afraid to admit that you need a break.
Car accidents caused by drowsiness do not have to happen if all drivers stay rested and alert.