There are severe penalties associated with driving while intoxicated, but there aren’t serious laws around driving while tired. That’s mostly because it’s too difficult to check for such a thing, and it would be nearly impossible to enforce. That said, driving exhausted can be much more dangerous than driving drunk. This is because falling asleep behind the wheel tends to cause high-speed crashes. Drivers rarely take any evasive maneuvers before impact either, which can worsen the severity of the accident.
For these reasons, it’s imperative that you work to avoid drowsy driving. It’s important to look out for loved ones as well, to help them stay out of their vehicles when too tired.
The Most Dangerous Times to Drive
According to studies, the highest risk of falling asleep while behind the wheel comes between midnight and dawn. When planning family trips, it’s best to try and avoid this driving time or to make sure the person driving during that period has slept sufficiently before climbing behind the wheel.
Listen to Your Body
If you’re yawning a great deal, or your eyelids feel heavy, you’re too tired to be driving. Do yourself a favor and stop to rest, or just hop out of your vehicle to walk around a bit before you begin driving again.
Taking the time to wake yourself up properly could be the only difference between crashing your car or making it home safely.
Protect Against Tired Driving
The best way to avoid driving while tired is to get enough sleep. Do your best to make it to bed at a decent hour. Try to avoid driving during midnight and dawn if you do feel tired. You could use that time to sleep instead, or at least take a nap to make sure you feel up to it before you head out on your drive.
Stay in a Hotel
When taking long trips in a car, it can be tempting to drive straight to your destination without stopping to rest. Unless you have several capable drivers that are resting in shifts, this is generally a terrible idea. If you are doing the driving on your own, stop to stay in a hotel and reduce your risk of accidents dramatically. Sure you’ll spend a bit more, but you’ll be safer and will likely enjoy the trip more as well thanks to that brief stop.
Take Medication with Care
Allergy medicine and cold medicine can both make you feel very drowsy. Try to avoid taking either of these medications before you hop into a vehicle to drive around. Taking the wrong thing could put you out behind the wheel and lead to a serious accident. Avoid the medications entirely, or get someone else to drive for you if you are on them.
Don’t Let Others Drive Tired
Driving while exhausted is a terribly dangerous thing to do. If you see someone that’s exhausted, make sure that they don’t drive off anywhere. Instead, suggest they take a nap first. Take their keys if you have to. Driving while overtired can be even more dangerous than driving drunk. Don’t let others make a terrible mistake for convenience purposes.