A Simple Guide to Avoiding Fatigue and Driving

Posted on by Defensive Driving Team | in Leave Early, Drive Slower, Live Longer

 

Fatigue can set in at any time; it’s natural to feel tired. Perhaps you went to bed late, or your day at work was too long. Maybe you work full-time and go to night school.  After working long hours and dealing with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, our bodies get tired and we become sleepy. The reason for being tired doesn’t really matter. When you feel this way, it is not a good or safe idea to drive. Driving while fatigued can be dangerous. When you are tired, your ability to react, concentrate, and make complex driving decisions is impaired.

Feeling sleepy is especially dangerous when you are on the road. Sleepiness slows your reaction time, decreases awareness, and impairs your judgment, just like drugs or alcohol. In fact, people who are very sleepy behave in similar ways to people who are drunk. Experts think that many fatal night-time single-vehicle crashes are caused by the driver falling asleep. Most people know how dangerous it is to drink and drive. But driving drowsy can be just as deadly as driving drunk.

 

You do not control your own sleep. You may feel awake, but if you are tired, you could fall asleep at any time. Here are some symptoms of sleepiness to look for. If you have any of them, pull off the road as soon as possible and find a place to sleep.

1.You have trouble keeping your eyes open and focused.

2. You can’t keep your head up.

3. You daydream or have wandering, disconnected thoughts.

4. You yawn frequently or rub your eyes repeatedly.

5. You find yourself drifting from your lane or tailgating.

6. You miss signs or drive past your exit.

7. You drift off the road and hit the rumble strips.

If you have even one of these symptoms, you could be sleepier than you think. Pull off the road and take a nap.

If you can avoid driving while fatigued, do so. If not, let yourself rest periodically. Avoid allowing the “hum” of driving to lull you to sleep. Change radio stations or turn up the volume. Open your windows or set your air conditioning on “high.” Avoid concentrating on any specific object in the road, such as the lane dividing line. Allow for ample space between your car and the other cars on the road. If you can, let someone else take the wheel.

 

It also helps to drive during your normal waking hours. If you drive at times when you’re normally asleep, you will be fighting your natural sleep rhythms and have a greater likelihood of falling asleep at the wheel.

Some tips that you learn to assist with preventing fatigue within the DefensiveDriving.com Driver Safety Course include:

  • Stop often. Even if you are feeling well you should stop at least every two (2) hours or every 100 miles. Get out of your car and walk around. Allow your muscles to relax.
  • Do not drive more than eight (8) hours per day.
  • Keep shifting your eyes. Look at different objects: near and far, left and right. Read the road signs as you approach them. Check your rearview mirror.

 

DefensiveDriving.com is a Texas Department of Licensing and Registration approved defensive driving course for ticket dismissal.

 

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