Driving & Exhaustion: Give It a Rest

Woman yawning while drivingPerhaps you are on a road trip and you didn’t catch as many Z’s as you should have the night before. You feel drowsiness setting in as you are reaching the last couple of hours of driving. You ask yourself if you should just power on or pull over and get some rest. The safest choice is to always cease driving and get some sleep.

Driving while you are tired is never a good idea. Every year, over a hundred thousand accidents happen, sometimes fatal, because of sleep-deprived driving. Exhaustion can affect your reaction time, coordination, memory, and impair your judgement.

One of the best ways to prevent driving in this state is to get the required amount of sleep. The Mayo Clinic suggests between 7-9 hours per night for an adult.

Some other ways to help prevent drowsy driving is to take frequent rests, drive with a partner, and also drive during the daytime instead of at night, when the body can become more tired.

Although anyone can be at risk, it seems that there are some people who are at a higher risk of operating a vehicle while tired. These can include those who work long hours or night shifts, individuals who have sleep disorders that have been left untreated, commercial drivers, and those who are on medications that may cause drowsiness.

How can you tell if you are tired? According to the DrowsyDriving.org, there are some warning signs. If you begin to experience any of the following, it’s time to pull over and get some rest.

  • Yawning or struggling to keep your head up
  • Daydreaming or wandering thoughts
  • Difficulty in recalling the last few miles you have driven
  • Recurrent blinking, eyelids feeling heavy, or frequent eye rubbing
  • Missing your exits or traffic signs
  • Trouble focusing, experiencing irritability, or feeling restless
  • Lane drifting, tailgating, or hitting the rumble strip on the shoulder of the road

Practicing good sleep hygiene is the one of the best ways to help prevent driving while tired. But if you are ever feeling fatigued while driving, the best and safest choice is to pull your vehicle over and get yourself some well-needed rest in order to prevent yourself from falling asleep at the wheel.

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