People hear a lot about drunk driving and distracted driving, but another D-word is equally dangerous. Drowsy driving causes up to 8,000 fatalities a year according to data reported by the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.
These safe driving strategies can limit your risk of involvement in a drowsy driving accident.
Know the warning signs
After a long shift at work or during an extended road trip, feeling tired is normal. However, you should pull over immediately if you have trouble keeping your eyes open, find yourself drifting or swerving, have daydreams or disconnected thoughts or become unable to focus on the road. Drowsy driving most commonly occurs between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and midnight and 6 a.m.
Get enough sleep
See your doctor if you struggle to sleep between six and eight hours each night. Often, medical problems interfere with the ability to get enough rest, which is the only true way to prevent crashes caused by drowsy driving. Stick to a sleep schedule and practice good sleep hygiene habits, such as leaving electronic devices in another room, to optimize your quality and quantity of rest.
Use caution with medications
Certain over-the-counter and prescription drugs can cause drowsiness even if the person got sufficient sleep. Read warning labels carefully and avoid getting behind the wheel when you have taken an allergy medication, pain reliever or drug that can lead to fatigue.
Take a break
Resting until you are able to drive again is the only way to overcome drowsy driving. Pull over in a safe location such as a parking lot and close your eyes for at least 30 minutes before continuing your journey. When you are traveling a long distance, try to take a break to stretch and move around at least every two hours. Try to drive with a partner so you can take turns at the wheel, which reduces the risk of drowsy driving crashes.
When you are too tired to drive, reaction time slows and crash risk dramatically rises. Avoid this danger with these smart tips.