It’s been a long day. You’ve been on a business trip to a major city three states away and your evening flight back was delayed by two hours. Now, as you drive the 50 miles from the airport to your home, you find yourself yawning and struggling to keep your eyes open. And since you want to get to bed as soon as possible, you keep driving.
Statistics show that might be a bad decision. Drowsy driving is a very real hazard on our roads. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes per year—and, since this type of accident is under-reported, that number might be even higher.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some drivers might be more likely to drive drowsy. They include:
So, although anyone can become drowsy behind the wheel, drivers in these categories may want to be especially careful.
Whether you belong to a group with higher risk of drowsiness or not, it’s always a good idea to take some preventive measures when you’re planning to hit the road. Here are a few things you can do:
Even if you take precautions, it’s important to watch out for the signs of drowsiness when you’re driving — so, if all else fails, you will know how to spot the signs when you need to take a break from driving and go somewhere to sleep. The National Sleep Foundation says that if you experience the following symptoms behind the wheel, it may be time to pull over and rest.
Remember: If you’re sleepy behind the wheel, you’re a risk to yourself and others on the road. So, when you feel your eyelids starting to droop, make the prudent choice and pull over somewhere safe so you can take a nap.