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This Month In Life
  • Driving Drowsy
    More than half of adult drivers will tell you that they regularly get behind the wheel when tired, and a third have even fallen asleep while driving. Why is it so dangerous to drive while sleepy and how can it be prevented? Read >>
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  • Bad Habits, Be Gone!
    While some people never take a hard look at their habits, you should if you want to live the best life possible. Take a few minutes to consider whether you have any of the following bad habits and then do something about it! Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Driving Drowsy

Feeling sleepy? Do not get behind the wheel!

Your eyes feel heavy, the slight vibration of the car is soothing, and it’s quiet. If you could rest your eyes for just a moment, you’d feel so much better.

Sound familiar? Be thankful you survived the experience. Because all it takes is a split second for a dangerous or deadly crash to occur.

Despite this fact, more than half of adult drivers will tell you that they regularly get behind the wheel when tired, and a third have even fallen asleep while driving. Why is it so dangerous to drive while sleepy and how can it be prevented?

The Risks

You may not realize the danger you put yourself and others in when you sit behind the wheel on the verge of sleep. But each year, hundreds of thousands of car accidents, thousands of deaths, and tens of thousands of injuries are caused by drowsy driving. In fact, up to 30 percent of all accidents are attributed to drowsy driving. And since there’s no way to test a person’s tiredness, statistics may actually be higher than reported. Despite the reported facts, it’s well known that when you’re tired, you’re three times more likely to be involved in an accident.

You hear all the time the dangers of drunk driving. Driving while drowsy poses similar risks. As with drinking, your reaction time, attention span, and awareness all plummet when you need sleep. How badly do your driving skills suffer when sleepy? Studies show that being awake for 20 hours is the same as having a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent, the legal limit.

Warning Signs of Drowsiness

Since fatigue is a common complaint in today’s fast-paced world, how do you know if you’re too tired to get behind the wheel? If you’re having trouble keeping your eyes open, you keep yawning, or it’s hard to keep your head up or eyes open, you’re too tired to drive. If you realize you can’t remember anything about the past few miles you’ve driven, drift out of your lane, miss your turn, or can’t maintain a constant speed, pull over before it’s too late.

How to Handle Drowsiness

You may be tempted to turn up the radio, listen to a podcast, or roll down the windows in an effort to keep yourself awake, but these tricks aren’t effective. If you’re tired, your body will fight to get the sleep it needs, no matter what you do.
The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you’re tired before a big trip, plan to take a short nap before hitting the road. When you notice symptoms of drowsiness, pull over and take a 20-minute power nap. After all, you’d rather arrive late than not at all. Also, don’t plan to drive more than 10 hours in a day. On long trips, pull over at least every two hours to stretch your legs and walk around. For long distances, drive with someone else so you can take turns driving.

Alcohol will make you even more tired, so avoid it before and during drives. Instead, drink caffeine to help keep you awake and make you more alert.
Your body craves sleep between midnight and 6 a.m., so avoid driving during these hours if possible.