Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous - and deadly - as drunk driving. That's because insufficient sleep can have the same effects as alcohol, impairing judgment, motor skills and functioning. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 car crashes every year, resulting in needless injuries and deaths.
Don't get into the driver's seat if you're short on sleep! If you're having trouble keeping your eyes focused on the road, continually yawning, or can't recall driving the last few miles, it's time to pull off the road safely.
Follow these rules to prevent drowsy driving:
- Be well rested before hitting the road. A few consecutive nights of skimpy sleep aren't erased with one good night's sleep. It may take a couple of days before you're fully rested and alert.
- Avoid driving between midnight and 7 a.m. We're naturally the sleepiest during this period of time.
- Don't drive alone. A companion can keep you engaged in conversation and help you stay awake.
- Schedule frequent breaks on long road trips. Give yourself a chance to recharge and/or take a short snooze.
- Pass on the alcohol. Booze will only create a more dangerous situation.
- Don't count on caffeine. Although drinking a cola or coffee might help keep you awake for a short time, it won't overcome excessive sleepiness.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services