The National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America Poll found that an alarming 60% of adult drivers admitted that they have driven while feeling drowsy. Even more alarming, 37% of those polled said that they have fallen asleep while behind the wheel.
There’s no doubt that driving while tired is extremely dangerous. It slows reaction time, decreases concentration, and impacts a driver’s ability to make good decisions. As a result, driving while drowsy increases the risk of fender benders, driving through stop signs and red lights, and can cause deadly crashes.
In order to avoid the problems that can occur as a result of drowsy driving, it’s imperative for drivers to be aware of the signs that indicate they are tired while behind the wheel.
Signs of Drowsiness behind the Wheel
The most common signs that you are growing tired while behind the wheel include:
- You are constant yawning. Yawning is a tell-tale sign of drowsiness.
- You have difficulty focusing. When you’re tired, it becomes more difficult to focus, which is exceptionally dangerous while driving.
- You “nod off”. If you find yourself slipping into a sleep-like state or “nodding off”, and you have difficulty holding your head up while you’re driving, you definitely should not be behind the wheel.
- You drift off into daydreams. Daydreaming is a sure-fire sign of drowsiness and can reduce your concentration on driving.
- You can’t remember the last few miles you’ve driven. If you have trouble remembering the last few miles you’ve driven, you aren’t focusing on driving because you are sleepy.
- You drift, swerve, tailgate or hit rumble strips. This can happen when you “nod off”, daydream or you lose concentration on driving because you are tired.
- You miss turns. When you’re tired and not focusing on the road, you can easily miss turns that you are supposed to make.
- You have increased feelings of restlessness, aggressiveness and/or irritability. Changes in behavior are not uncommon when you become drowsy, especially when you aren’t in a position to fall asleep.
Combating Drowsy Driving
If you find yourself getting tired while you’re behind the wheel, take preventative measures to avoid drowsiness, or actions to prevent accidents.
- Get a good night of sleep before hitting the road.
- Drive with another licensed driver. If you find yourself feeling drowsy, switch drivers so you can rest.
- Get off the road. Pull over at a rest area, at a nearby friend’s house or even at a hotel to get a little shut-eye.
Driving while drowsy is exceedingly dangerous, but avoidable when you know the signs and take proper precautions. Having a great auto insurance policy ensures that you have coverage in the event that you or other motorist has a drowsy driving accident that results in injury or damage.