How to Prevent Drowsy Driving
While the obvious solution to preventing drowsy driving is to never drive when you’re tired, there are other things you can do to stay alert behind the wheel.
1. Get more sleep.
Good sleep habits affect every area of your life, including your ability to drive safely. While certain drivers (particularly shift workers, commercial drivers, and those with sleep disorders) are more at risk of drowsy driving than others, anyone who simply has not had enough sleep when they get behind the wheel is putting themselves—and others—in danger.
If you know you’ll be driving, make sure you get plenty of rest before you get behind the wheel. The National Sleep Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend healthy adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, and yet more than 40 percent of drivers have at least one or more days when they get less than six hours of sleep in a typical week, according to the National Safety Council.
2. Watch for signs of tiredness.
Despite the fact that the majority of motorists view drowsy driving as a serious or somewhat serious threat to their safety (87.9 percent) and an unacceptable behavior (95.2 percent), 3 in 10 admit to driving when they were so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open.
Even if you’re feeling chipper when you start out, monitor your behavior and energy as you drive. Are you yawning, nodding off, or having trouble keeping your head up? Maybe you’re drifting in and out of your lane, missing signals, or having trouble maintaining a consistent speed. These are signs that you’re tired and at risk.