Drowsy Driving Awareness

yawning truck driver, driver with coffee, tired driver

Drowsy driving happens when you haven’t had enough sleep or are tired while behind the wheel. Just like driving after drinking alcohol or using drugs, your risk of a crash increases when you drive drowsy because you are slower to react and your judgment is impaired. Even if you close your eyes for less than a second you risk losing control of your vehicle.

If You Are Tired

  • Ask someone else to drive or change your plans if you haven't had enough sleep.
  • If you feel drowsy while driving, pull over as soon as possible into a well-lit area away from traffic and take a 20-minute nap or switch with another driver.

Opening windows, turning on the air conditioner, or turning up the radio will not help you stay awake while driving.

Tips to Prevent Drowsy Driving

  • Get enough sleep before you drive, especially when going on long trips.
  • Make regular stops or switch drivers every 100 miles or 2 hours.
  • Avoid driving between 1pm-4pm and 2am-6am. These are times when drivers are more likely to feel tired.
  • Don't count on caffeine. It can provide a short fix or 'pick me up', but be aware, it takes 30 minutes before you feel the effect and it wears off quickly.
  • Avoid driving when you are taking medications that could make you tired.
  • Never drink alcohol or use drugs before driving. They slow down your reflexes and cause drowsiness.

Signs of Drowsy Driving

  • Swerving or drifting between lanes of traffic
  • Struggling to keep your eyes open or focused
  • Yawning repeatedly
  • Forgetting the last few miles driven
  • Tailgating or missing traffic signals

Know the Risks

Anyone who is tired is at risk of drowsy driving, but the following groups have a higher risk of driving drowsy:

  • Commercial drivers, including tractor trailer, tour bus, and public transit drivers
  • People who work long hours or late-night shifts
  • People with sleep disorders
  • New parents or caregivers of babies and young children
  • High school and college students, young or newer drivers

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