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Driving while fatigued is a form of distracted driving

Whether it’s getting up early to drop off the kids at school or starting the daily commute to the office, most adults drive while feeling drowsy. It often feels inevitable due to our busy schedules and lack of sleep.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60 percent of adults in the United States drive drowsy, and one-third of drivers fall asleep at the wheel. It is a simple action with severe consequences, such as a car accident that could harm you or someone else.

Signs you are too tired to drive

Before you hit the road, make sure you are not too drowsy to drive. Some signs that it’s time to pull over are:

  • Difficulty focusing or heavy eyelids
  • Daydreaming or wandering thoughts
  • Yawning repeatedly or rubbing your eyes
  • Having trouble with directions or missing turns
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Trouble keeping your head up

No one knows the exact moment they might fall asleep at the wheel, so it’s crucial to identify these signs early enough to pull over and stop driving before a severe accident happens.

How to prevent drowsy driving

The most obvious answer to preventing drowsy driving is getting enough sleep. Most adults need at least seven hours a day, while teens need at least 8 hours a day, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, a full night’s sleep may not always be realistic. Drivers can implement a few easy tips to prevent driving while tired.

  1. Take a short nap before a road trip to help make up a poor night’s sleep.
  2. Pull over and take a nap in a parking lot or a safe location.
  3. Drive with someone else and take turns driving.
  4. Do not drink alcohol or take medication before driving.
  5. Drink a cup of coffee to improve alertness.

If you or a loved one has an issue with sleep, consult with a physician about other remedies and avoid driving unless it’s essential. You do not want to put your life at risk over a few hours of sleep.

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