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Know the Signs to Avoid Driving Drowsy

Apr 02, 2014 08:56AM ● Published by Anonymous

You start yawning a lot, your eyelids feel heavy, your head starts to nod and your vision seems blurry. Next thing you know, you’ve veered to the side of the road and you quickly try to straighten the wheel. Okay, so this time you were lucky — next time you could be the tragic victim of drowsy driving. Fatigue greatly increases the chances of an accident — drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes a year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths.

Listen to your body — it may save your life
Pull over and rest if you experience:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids
  • Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts
  • Trouble remembering the last few miles driven; missing exits or traffic signs
  • Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting a shoulder rumble strip
  • Feeling restless, irritable or aggressive
  • Impaired reaction time and judgment
  • Decreased performance, vigilance and motivation

Are you at risk?
The risk of drowsy driving increases if you are:

  • Sleep deprived or fatigued
  • Driving long distances without proper rest breaks
  • Driving through the night
  • Drinking even small amounts of alcohol
  • Driving alone or on long, rural, dark or boring roads
  • Taking medications that may sedate such as cold tablets, antihistamines or antidepressants
  • Experiencing jet lag

Make sleep a priority
Sleep is as important, if not more important than diet and exercise. Experts recommend 8½-9½ hours of sleep for teens and young adults and 7-9 hours for adults. Don’t get into “sleep debt” — an accumulation of insufficient sleep that must be repaid often at unexpected times such as when you’re behind the wheel. Sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Be smart about sleep — make it a part of your regular schedule.

Takeaway: 

Know the signs, listen to your body and pull over. It may save your life! 

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