Just how dangerous is drowsy driving?
Have you ever let out a yawn at the wheel of your car? Most drivers probably have. Yet how many of them then pulled over for a rest?
Tiredness can catch us all out at some point. It’s how we react to the first signs of fatigue that matters.
Take yawning as a warning
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that drowsy driving is a factor in around 90,000 crashes, 50,000 injuries and 875 deaths in a year. As it’s unlikely the population will become less tired, the best way to reduce those figures is to teach people to act upon the signs of tiredness at the wheel.
So what can you do if you start to feel drowsy?
It depends on how tired you feel and how much further you have to go. It doesn’t make much sense to pull over for a nap if you let out a yawn when you are one street away from home, but it might do if you still have three hours to go.
Here are a few things that could help, depending on the situation:
- Drinking some water
- Winding the window down
- Turning the heating off
- Putting on some livelier music
- Swapping drivers
- Getting out of the car for a quick stretch
- Pulling off and getting some food or drink
- Parking up, reclining your seat and taking a quick snooze
- Pulling off, getting a motel for the night and continuing in the morning
Failing to take action when you’re tired makes a collision more likely. If a drowsy driver crashes into you, consider legal help to hold them responsible.