We’ve all been there. You are driving down a long stretch of highway on your way home and the destination can’t arrive fast enough, because you are exhausted.
Once a driver lets that exhaustion escalate to full-on drowsiness, the risk for a car accident gets even worse. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that conservatively, 2.5% of all fatal crashes and 2% of all injury crashes in the United States are caused by drowsy driving, which translates into as many as 5,000 or 6,000 wrecks a year.
Recognizing the warning signs of drowsy driving can be the first step from preventing tragic accidents like these from happening. The Centers for Disease Control remind drivers to look out for signs like:
- Yawning or blinking frequently.
- Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven.
- Missing your exit.
- Drifting from your lane.
- Hitting a rumble strip.
As an extra safety precaution, we urge drivers to also remember these helpful tips to prevent accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel:
- Get the proper amount of sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours, and teens need closer to ten each night.
- The body’s urge to sleep is the strongest between 2am and 6am, so avoid driving during those times altogether.
- Pulling over for a quick nap can do wonders (and potentially prevent an accident)
- Never drive if you were diagnosed with or suspect that you suffer from certain conditions that affect sleep, including narcolepsy, sleeps apnea, insomnia, and restless leg syndrome.
- Avoid driving for long distances by yourself if you can