Did you know that driving while drowsy is nearly as dangerous as driving under the influence?
Drowsiness is a form of impairment and this means poor driving behavior. Not only that, but you don’t have the mental sharpness to make good driving choices and prevent accidents.
This is scary because 20% of fatal accidents are caused by driver fatigue. Driving while tired may seem harmless, but it’s deadly and there’s never a good reason to do it.
To help avoid an accident, you should understand how to identify a drowsy driver. This will help you steer clear of a dangerous driver and avoid a potential collision.
We’ll go over the signs of a drowsy driver below to help keep you safe!
Drowsy Driving Is Incredibly Dangerous
Drowsy driving means operating a car while you’re fatigued. As you might imagine, this applies to thousands if not millions of drivers every day.
Imagine your morning commute. If you need to get up early, then you likely are still tired when you leave for work in the morning.
Most drivers are tired during their morning commute and this leads to poor driving. Your reaction time increases, your judgment is slightly impaired, and distraction becomes more likely.
This doesn’t just apply to morning commutes. It can affect drivers on their way home in the evening, people who drive for a living, and anyone that isn’t getting adequate sleep.
If so many drivers are driving drowsy, then it must not be a huge issue, right? Wrong. Countless accidents can be linked to fatigued driving, meaning that adequate precaution could have prevented them.
Look for Drunk Driving Behavior
One element of drowsy driving is that it can impair you to similar levels of driving drunk.
This means that driving while fatigued is nearly as dangerous as drinking and driving. On a similar note, the signs of a fatigued driver are strikingly resemblant of a drunk driver.
If you’re unfamiliar with drunk driving, it produces several behaviors that are usually quite obvious.
Here are a few behaviors that both drunk and drowsy drivers exhibit:
- Delayed reactions.
- Inconsistent acceleration and speed.
- Random and hard braking.
- Drifting between lanes.
- Dramatic swerving.
Depending on the driver and their fatigue level, these signs may be more or less obvious. Not every drowsy driver is going to drift between lanes, but any of these signs are a good reason to drive away from a vehicle in question.
Generally speaking, watch for any drivers that are behaving erratically. It may be hard to determine exactly what is causing their behavior, but any erraticism is dangerous and reason to be cautious.
Keep an Eye Out for Signs of Fatigue
In addition to checking for signs of drunk driving, you should also keep an eye out for any general signs of fatigue.
This is a little trickier to do because it requires you to be able to see the other driver. Signs of drunk driving are visible based on how a car is moving, but symptoms of fatigue require examination of the driver.
With this in mind, it isn’t easy to check for fatigue. If you’re moving at high speeds like on the freeway, you don’t want to take the time to study another driver because it will mean that you aren’t watching the road.
Instead, you can check for fatigue when stopped at an intersection. Is the other driver yawning, struggling to keep their eyes open, or do they have a spacey look on their face?
If any of these symptoms are paired with signs of drunk driving, then drowsiness is likely a factor.
Noticing Your Drowsiness
Being aware of your fatigue levels is critical because it can make you aware of when you shouldn’t be driving. You can do your best to avoid other drowsy drivers, but it won’t do you any good if you’re one of them.
With this in mind, you should always check yourself for any signs of drowsiness. This includes those mentioned above (yawning, closing eyes, and a glazed look on your face) and a few others as well.
You should also watch for these signs of fatigue:
- Not remembering the last few minutes of driving.
- Missing your turn or exit.
- Excessive blinking.
- Driving on the bumps in between lanes.
If you notice any of these signs of fatigue, you should pull over as soon as possible to avoid an accident! You don’t want to fall asleep and this may happen if you keep driving in this state.
Preventing Drowsy Driving Is a Must
Considering the significance of drowsy driving, preventing it is a must.
Drowsy drivers are lousy drivers and this is something that you should take to heart. Fatigue is a form of impairment, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
With this in mind, you should do your best to prevent drowsy driving. You can’t affect what other drivers do, but you can be vigilant of their actions and be proactive about avoiding them.
The one person you can affect is yourself. Commit to never driving while drowsy. This means avoiding any behavior that places you in a situation of needing to drive while fatigued.
Make a point of getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night, eight is even better. Don’t be afraid to take a nap and delay plans for later.
It might seem like an inconvenience, but you need to avoid driving drowsy. You wouldn’t drive after drinking, so why would you drive while drowsy?
Drowsy driving is an incredibly problematic behavior that leads to dangerous roads and car accidents. Many drivers are prone to fatigue due to the nature of their job and the demands expected of them.
Because of this, you should know how to identify a drowsy driver. You can do this by checking for signs of drunk driving and looking for physical symptoms of fatigue.
Apply this to yourself, too. Make sure you don’t show any signs of drowsiness and stop driving if you do! Make it a priority to never drive while drowsy and you’ll do your part to help make the road safer for everyone else!