Every year, over 600 people die in drowsy-driving-related crashes. Unfortunately, drivers do not always recognize the danger of putting themselves or others on the road when they get behind the wheel without adequate sleep.
How do you know how tired is too tired? The limit for drowsy driving may be smaller than you think.
Many lifestyles lend themselves to drowsy driving
Many Americans suffer from low-quality sleep. For example, you may deal with fatigue caused by children, friends, holidays or workplace stress. If you do not sleep well every night, you could risk driving drowsy to all your daily obligations. Most people should aim for at least seven to eight hours every night.
In addition to fatigue caused by lifestyle, sleepiness is also a side-effect of medication. You should always check your prescription for a drowsiness warning before you drive. Even if you do not think it makes you tired, it can still impact your reaction time and ability to prevent an accident.
Drowsy driving is similar to driving while intoxicated
Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When tired, your judgment and reaction time slows down. You may find it challenging to focus on the road ahead or to notice changes in other vehicles or pedestrians. When tired, people often have microsleeps. Micro-sleeps cause you to lose consciousness for a few seconds at a time. In many cases, people overlook microsleeps.
While coffee can make you feel more alert, it does not always make you less tired. If you must drive, drink one to two cups of coffee and take a quick, 20-minute nap to increase alertness.