When you are drowsy, even the smallest tasks can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Some of these activities may be low-risk and you can get through them if you focus hard enough. However, it is very dangerous to treat driving like one of these activities.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that in 2020, drowsy driving caused 633 fatalities. Drowsy-driving collisions occur most in the middle of the night and in the late afternoon, which are both times when people’s circadian rhythms take a dip.
To avoid the consequences of driving while fatigued, it helps to know what warning signs to look out for. You are probably too tired to drive if you find yourself drifting over pavement markings, blinking more than normal or forgetting the past few minutes of your drive. You should especially be on the lookout for these conditions if you have not slept much or if you take a medication that makes you drowsy.
If tiredness is a frequent problem for you when you drive, there are measures that you can take to get on top of it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night and establish a consistent sleep regimen. Also, because sleep disorders are a common cause of drowsy driving, you should seek treatment if you think that you have difficulty sleeping.
No matter how confident you are in your driving abilities, you must take drowsy driving seriously. You can enjoy safer, smoother rides if you listen to your body and develop the right habits.