To be a safe driver, you must ensure you’re able to drive properly. Many people get behind the wheel when they are really too tired to drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports tired driver caused 846 fatal accidents occurred in 2014. They also note that 83,000 accidents occurred as a result of drowsy driving.
Your auto insurance providers want to ensure you are a safe driver. Driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. This makes you a high-risk driver. It also causes your car insurance rates to go up. There are steps you can take to avoid this. The most important is not getting behind the wheel if you are drowsy. But, how do you know you are too tired to drive?
#1: Notice Your Physical Signs of Drowsiness
Your body tells you when you are drowsy and need to sleep. You are yawning often. You are unable to keep your eyes open. If you were alone for just a minute, you would fall asleep. You feel as though you cannot keep your head up. If any of this occurs, avoid getting behind the wheel. You could doze off at the worst possible time.
#2: You Cannot Remember Driving
Let’s say you get in the car. You drive for a few minutes. But, you don’t remember those last few miles. Did you go through the intersection? Did you have to stop at the light? If you cannot remember these instances, chances are good you not fit to operate a vehicle.
#3: You Have Risk Factors for Being Too Tired
Sometimes, you should not try to drive even if you feel fine. This is because you have other factors putting you at risk:
- You did not get 7 or more hours or sleep in the last night or two.
- You were driving alcohol within the last four to five hours.
- You are driving a long distance. If so, be sure you take a break at least every 100 miles.
You do not want to file car insurance claims for accidents caused by being drowsy. Yet, this is a common reason for individuals to see their auto insurance rates rise. If you had a hard day or did not get any sleep, it is important not to get behind the wheel.
FAQ’s About Warning Signs Not To Get Behind the Wheel
What are the signs of driver fatigue?
Signs of driver fatigue include yawning, heavy eyelids, drifting between lanes, difficulty focusing, and feeling irritable or restless.
How does fatigue affect driving ability?
Fatigue can impair driving ability by slowing reaction time, decreasing awareness and decision-making abilities, and causing drivers to fall asleep at the wheel.
How many hours of sleep do I need to be well-rested before driving?
Most adults need at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night to be well-rested, although individual needs may vary.
Can caffeine help combat driver fatigue?
Caffeine can provide a temporary boost of alertness, but it is not a substitute for adequate rest and may have negative side effects like increased anxiety or jitters.
What should I do if I feel too tired to drive?
If you feel too tired to drive, it is important to pull over and take a break. A short nap or some light exercise can help you feel more alert before continuing your journey.
Are there any medications that can cause driver fatigue?
Yes, some medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, and painkillers can cause drowsiness and impair driving ability.
How can I prevent driver fatigue?
To prevent driver fatigue, make sure to get enough sleep, take regular breaks during long drives, avoid driving during late night or early morning hours, and stay hydrated and nourished.
What should I do if I see someone driving erratically due to fatigue?
If you see someone driving erratically due to fatigue, keep a safe distance and report the behavior to local authorities if necessary.
Are there any legal consequences for driving while fatigued?
Depending on the severity of the situation, driving while fatigued can result in legal consequences like fines, license suspension, or even criminal charges in cases of serious accidents.
How can I assess my own level of fatigue before driving?
To assess your own level of fatigue before driving, ask yourself if you feel well-rested and alert, or if you are experiencing any signs of drowsiness or impaired cognition. If in doubt, it is always better to err on the side of caution and take
How much sleep should you get before driving?
It’s essential to get an adequate amount of sleep before driving to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road. The recommended amount of sleep is 7-9 hours per night for adults. Adequate sleep helps maintain alertness, good judgment, and reaction time while driving.
What can you do to remain awake and alert while driving?
Here are a few tips for staying awake and alert while driving:
- Ensure you get enough sleep before your drive.
- Take regular breaks, ideally every couple of hours or 100 miles, to stretch and refresh yourself.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water.
- Avoid heavy meals that may cause drowsiness.
- Ventilate your car to ensure you have fresh air circulating inside.
- Switch between radio stations or listen to engaging audiobooks or podcasts to keep your mind active.
- If you feel sleepy, pull over to a safe location and take a 15-20 minute nap.
- Consider consuming some caffeine, like coffee or energy drinks, in moderation to help stay alert, but do not rely on them as a substitute for sleep.
Remember to always prioritize your safety and the safety of others on the road. If you feel too tired, it’s best to postpone your drive or find an alternative mode of transportation.