You are driving down the road and suddenly your eyelids are incredibly heavy, your head starts to bob, your vision begins to blur, and you have a bad case of the yawns. What do you do? Do you keep driving? You may be thinking you can manage to stay awake with some loud music or by opening all the windows. The key in this situation is making the right decision and there is only one right decision- pull over and take a nap. If you continue on you may be putting yourself and others in danger.
Here are some signs that a driver needs to pull off the road and rest:
-Difficulty focusing/Blurry vision
-Trouble keeping your head up/Head nodding
-Difficulty remembering the last few miles driven
-Drifting from your lane
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 100,000 police reported crashes annually are a result of fatigue while behind the wheel. Those crashes cause 1,500 fatalities and 71,000 injuries a year.
People have their own tactics to fight off drowsiness behind the wheel. Some people will do the best thing, which would be to stop driving or switch spots with one of your passengers. Others will try to open all the windows in the car or turn the air conditioning on full blast. People may turn the music up in an effort to stay awake, maybe try to sing along. Some stop to get food or a drink, possibly something with caffeine. Other methods include calling a friend, giving yourself a little pinch or even slapping yourself in the face. While these tactics may keep you awake for a short period of time, the only truly safe way to combat drowsy driving is to pull off and take a nap.
Make sure you are getting a full night of sleep before you head out for a day behind the wheel. If you aren’t sleeping well during the night you may want to think about changing you sleeping habits or getting a new mattress. Don’t put your life or the life of another in danger.