Regardless of the time of day or where you’re driving, you could find yourself drowsy and wondering if you should pull your vehicle to the side of the road. Just the same, there’s always a chance that another driver may not be fully alert.
Drowsy driving is a top cause of motor vehicle accidents, so it’s critical to prevent this at all costs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is responsible for tens of thousands of accidents and injuries every year.
Do you drive drowsy?
Even the most responsible drivers can fall asleep at the wheel, so you should never assume it can’t happen to you.
Some people are more likely to drive drowsy, including the following:
- Anyone who doesn’t get enough sleep, regardless of the reason
- Shift workers, especially those who work at night
- Commercial truck drivers who are on the road for many consecutive hours without a break
- Drivers who take any type of medication that may make them sleepy
- Anyone with a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea
If you fall into any of these categories, you must take special caution when operating a motor vehicle.
Here are five of the most common warning signs that you’re too tired to drive:
- You don’t remember what happened over the past few miles
- Constant yawning accompanied by heavy eyelids
- Drifting from your lane of travel
- Irritability, such as becoming upset with other drivers
- Missing your exit
All of these warning signs mean one thing: It’s time to pull to the side of the road to remove yourself from danger. Even if you’re close to home and think you can remain awake, it’s better to be safe than sorry. A little bit of rest can go a long way.
If you’re part of an accident with a drowsy driver, pull to safety and call 911. Once police and an ambulance arrive, you’ll feel better about receiving medical care and holding the other driver responsible for their negligence.
Your health is more important than anything else, so don’t do anything until you receive treatment and understand your long-term prognosis. From there, you can contact your insurance company to file a claim. This is also the best time for you to learn more about the crash and how to protect your legal rights.