Falling asleep behind the wheel may seem harmless, but it could be deadly. You could drive off the road or hit another driver. It’s a scary scenario to imagine.
Drowsy driving is more common than you think
It may be surprising but drowsy driving can be just as fatal as drunk driving. In fact, the National Healthy Sleep Awareness Projects calls drowsy driving a “pervasive threat to public health and transportation safety.” It’s a big safety threat, yet you don’t hear about it as much as DUI or distracted driving accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 100,000 drowsy driving accidents happen each year. Just imagine the number of people you share the road with every day. These are the same people you may be exposing to harm each time you drive drowsy.
Warning signs of drowsy driving
The Healthy Sleep Awareness Project launched the "Awake at the Wheel" campaign. This campaign will help spread awareness on the dangers of driving drowsy. Here are some signs to lookout for when you’re sleepy and driving:
- You keep yawning.
- You are unable to keep your eyes open.
- You catch yourself "nodding off" and have trouble keeping your head up.
- You can't remember driving the last few miles.
- You end up too close to cars in front of you.
- You miss road signs or drive past your turn.
- You drift into the other lane of traffic.
- You drift onto the "rumble strip" or the road's shoulder.
If you notice yourself doing any of these, try to pull over somewhere safe and take a nap. Do not keep driving! That will increase your chances of falling asleep which could be fatal. If you are going to be driving late at night for a road trip, try not to drive alone. Driving with someone else in the car will help you stay alert, and you can take turns driving so the other one can sleep.
As a Kentucky Car Accident Attorney, I suggest that you get a good night’s sleep before going on a road trip. This is especially important if you are driving alone. If you feel too sleepy to drive, then try to get more sleep before you go. You could also see if a friend would go with you and drive so you can sleep a little more. This may cause you to get to your destination later but at least you will make it there safely.