It’s no secret that driving under fatigue puts you at high risk for an accident, but it also endangers everyone else on the road as well. In fact, according to to the National Sleep Foundation, driving while drowsy can be equally as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. 60% of adults have driven while sleepy and just about one-third of all drivers have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel. Being awake for 18 hours makes you drive as if your blood alcohol level is 0.05% (the legal limit for alcohol being 0.08%). Driving after being awake for a full 24 hours or more? That is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.10%.
Here is how you can tell someone is too tired to drive:
- Difficulty focusing; frequent blinking or heavy eyelids
- Daydreaming; Voicing disconnected thoughts
- Trouble remembering the last few miles driven, missing exits or ignoring traffic signs
- Repeated yawning or rubbing their eyes
- Trouble keeping their head up
- Drifting from their lane or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
- Feeling restless or generally irritable
Methods to wake yourself up or make sure you stay alert:
- Try to get 8 hours of sleep before a drive.
- Take a pre-drive nap.
- Take a mid-drive nap. It is safer to pull over in a safe location to take a 20 minute power nap to continue driving when sleepy.
- Pull over at a rest stop and stretch or walk around.
- Try the buddy system to keep you engaged in conversation, but to also switch off driving every 2 hours.
- Do not drink alcohol. Even the slightest amount can make you drowsy.
- Caffeine has been proved to improves alertness, but be aware that the effects will wear off after a few hours.
It is important to take such considerations when driving as cars can be life threatening for you and for others in your vehicle or others on the road. Were you hurt by someone who fell asleep on the road and caused an accident? Call us for a free consultation at (571) 364 – 6307.
(Information taken from www.sleepfoundation.org)