Whenever you get behind the wheel you have a responsibility of driving safely in order to protect yourself and everyone around you. Some people choose to ignore this and develop very bad (and illegal) habits, such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and the tragic results of these crimes are well documented and very publicized in mass media. However, there is a less talked about issue that happens to be just as dangerous: driving tired.
Driving Tired vs. Driving Inebriated
Some might think that driving tired is nowhere near as bad as driving after drinking too much. While it’s true that it is probably not as irresponsible and does not carry the same social stigma, the result is the same: tired drivers have a very decreased reaction time and tend to make a lot more mistakes, making them very prone to accidents and, as a result, a danger to everyone on the road. According to statistics, tired drivers are responsible for 100,000 accidents every year, which result in 1,500 fatalities and over 70,000 injuries. This is a staggering number, especially when you consider that most of these accidents can be prevented with a little foresight and careful planning.
Ways to Avoid Falling Asleep at the Wheel
The best way to make sure that you never fall asleep at the wheel is to make sure that you never drive tired. If you know that you have a long drive ahead of you, make sure that you get a good night’s rest. Also, try not to work before the long drive. Get behind the wheel feeling refreshed and focused.
Having someone to talk to you can also help you stay alert, so if it’s possible, have a passenger on a long journey. If that is not an option, then listen to the radio or to the CD player. Music might not be as effective as another person sitting next to you, but it is still much better than silence.
If you do feel like you are getting tired do not hesitate to pull over for a while. A coffee or an energy drink can do wonders in revitalizing you. You can even take a quick nap if you need to. You will be surprised how twenty – thirty minutes of rest will reinvigorate you.
When to Pull Over
Some signs that it is time to pull over are:
- You start yawning multiple times
- You swerve and have trouble staying in your lane
- You have trouble keeping your eyes open
The last sign is actually a signal that you’ve ignored the other signs, because if your eyes close for even a millisecond you officially have become a reckless driver and you need to stop immediately. Do NOT wait for the second time for your eyes to close. If you do, there’s a very good chance that it will be too late. Wherever you are driving to, it is never worth putting yourself and others in danger.
The following video is a good example of someone not heeding this advice.
WARNING: While the man in the car survived this accident with minor scrapes and bruises, he was certainly injured. If you are sensitive to such subject matter, this video might not be for you. None-the-less, we believe it’s an important video to watch because it will make you think twice about driving tired! … and without a seat belt! Please drive safe!
shroomingnewman (Jan 16, 2007) – “Driver falls asleep at the wheel”