Fatigue can wreak havoc on our health. However, it poses more significant risks on the road. Drowsy driving is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents. The NHTSA shared these tips to avoid getting sleepy on the road:
- Get at least seven hours of sleep regularly if you drive every day.
- Sleep enough before going on a long drive.
- Avoid driving when tired or exhausted.
- Check your medication if it causes drowsiness. If so, avoid driving after taking it.
- Never drive after consuming alcohol.
- Use public transportation whenever you are drowsy.
- Plan your trips, so they do not conflict with your sleep hours. Drowsiness can easily kick in during these times.
You can also take naps and drink coffee or energy drinks to wake you up in the middle of a road trip.
The impact of drowsy driving
The NHTSA cannot pin down the exact number of drowsy-driving crashes. According to police, the evidence and contributors of these accidents are hard to identify. In 2017, they estimated a total of 91,000 drowsy-driving incidents with 50,000 injured victims and 800 casualties. However, the NHTSA — as well as the sleep science and public health sectors — agree that these numbers are slim compared to the actual figures.
How can I help?
You can help by practicing prevention measures and raising awareness. As a driver, you can develop road safety habits and choose not to drive when tired or sleepy. Also, you can check on your vehicle’s driver as a passenger. People might not notice when they start feeling sleepy, so give them a nudge and ask them how they are. This small gesture also allows them to gauge if they feel alert enough to continue driving.