A quick nap can re-energize you for the rest of your drive. Don't take chances behind the wheel.
You'll hear a lot of talk about the dangers of drinking and driving and — nowadays — texting and driving. But many people don’t realize how dangerous it can be to drive while drowsy or exhausted. In fact, it's estimated that 1 out of 6 deadly crashes involves a drowsy driver, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Some drivers face more of a risk for drowsy driving accidents. Drivers under age 25; people who work late night, long, or double shifts; commercial drivers; people with sleep disorders; or those who travel for business have a higher risk of being in an accident due to driving while tired.
Drowsy driving accidents can be prevented by making smart and safe choices while driving. Knowing the signs of drowsy driving can help you avoid an accident. Planning trips ahead of time allows you to prepare yourself for the drive.
Stop driving if you notice these signs:
- Inability to focus eyes, eyelids drooping, blinking often
- Spacing out or daydreaming
- Difficulty holding up head
- Swerving or drifting out of lane
- Forgetting past few miles of trip, missing traffic signs or exits
- Yawing excessively
- Restless or irritable feelings
How can you prevent drowsy driving?
- Sleep for at least 7 solid hours before your trip.
- Don’t rush; build in time for breaks and rest stops to prevent accidents.
- Don’t drive during your normal sleeping time.
- Drive with a friend. You can take turns at the wheel and monitor each other for signs of drowsy driving.
- Take a break every two hours or 100 miles to get a snack and do a few minutes of vigorous movement to increase your alertness.
- Stopping for a short nap can refresh you during a long drive. Just be sure you are fully awake before you continue driving.
- Alcohol and medications that make you drowsy should never mix with driving.
- Caffeine can give you an extra boost and fight off fatigue.
Drowsy Driving Prevention Week is from Nov. 12-18. Visit our online health library for more information about drowsy driving. And although we don't want you to get into an emergency situation, you can plan ahead just in case by filling out an Emergency Card with information for family members and emergency officials. It keeps people informed if you are unable to. You can fill it out online or call 1-866-442-2362 for more information. Our emergency department will always be here when you need it.