Six Signs You’re Too Tired to Drive
1. You’re Cranky or Restless
One of the better ways to judge your level of sleep deprivation is to consider your mood. If you’re feeling angry, irritated, or annoyed over trivial things or other drivers on the road, you’re probably more tired than you realize.
2. You Can’t Recall the Last Few Miles
Your memory is one of the first things to be impacted when sleep deprived. If you have difficulty remembering and picturing the last few exits or the last few stretches of road, we suggest finding a safe spot to pull over and re-evaluate whether or not you should continue the rest of your drive.
3. Frequent Yawning and Eye Rubbing
Everybody knows yawning and tired eyes are a sign of fatigue. If yawning becomes almost constant or you find yourself repeatedly rubbing your eyes, it’s a good sign you should take a break and get some sleep.
4. Difficulty Keeping Your Head Up and Eyes Open
If your head and eyes feel heavy and you’re on the verge of falling asleep, take caution and find a place to pull over for a nap. It’s entirely unsafe to be driving when your body is forcing itself to sleep. These types of situations should be treated as emergencies, as drowsy driving to this degree can easily lead to an accident.
5. Erratic Driving Behavior
Swerving, missing traffic signs, forgetting exits, drifting into the next lane, and driving over rumble strips are clear signs you’re driving while impaired.
6. You’ve Just Pulled an All-Nighter
Before getting behind the wheel, think about if you meet the six signs of being tired. Take a moment to think about the amount of sleep you’ve gotten in the last 24 hours and be realistic with yourself. If you doubt whether or not you should drive, you probably shouldn’t. We don’t suggest driving if you’ve gone more than 24 hours without sleep, as your reaction times and coordination are greatly diminished.
Even if you haven’t gone a full 24 hours without sleep, it may be unsafe for you to drive. Getting less than 7 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period is still unhealthy for your brain and body. Delaying your trip by a few hours to get some rest is worth it in the long run, as it could save you from an auto accident. As the saying goes, “better safe than sorry!”
Drowsy driving may seem like no big deal, but in reality, it accounts for over 100,000 auto accidents each year. This puts not only you in danger but other drivers as well. In fact, AAA estimates drowsy driving is the cause of nearly one in six fatal car accidents.
By Meg Riley