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5 Signs That You Are Too Tired to Drive

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Don't ignore the signs of sleepy driving and wind up off the road. Photo: mob mob

Don’t ignore the signs of sleepy driving and wind up off the road. Photo: mob mob

Getting behind the wheel after a long day of work or a sleepless night can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving, according to a study by researchers in Australia. Why then, do so many drivers ignore the warning signs, and continue on their way despite being exhausted, and frankly, a danger to themselves and others? Some drivers think if they step on the gas and get to their destination sooner, they’ll be just fine. Others become stressed and impatient – but very few actually pull over and take a nap. Paying attention to your body and heeding the signs that you are too tired to drive could save you from becoming a statistic. “When Americans get behind the wheel, we hope they’ll recognize warning signs for when they’re too tired to drive,” said David M. Cloud, the foundations chief executive officer, in an ABC News article. “Understanding crucial warning signs and countermeasures are key to preventing sleep-related crashes.”

Here are five signs that you are too tired to drive.

  1. Normal physical signs. Repeated yawning, heavy eyelids and frequent blinking, or difficulty keeping your head up.
  2. Lack of focus. Rubbing your eyes, zoning out, or finding it difficult to keep your focus on the road.
  3. Erratic driving behavior. Tailgating, swerving, drifting from your lane, missing traffic signs, failing to use your blinker, and missing turns or exits.
  4. Feeling restless, irritable, or impatient.
  5. Forgetfulness. Not remembering the last few miles, or what happened between the last stoplight and where you are now.

When you notice any of these things happening to you, you should pull over as soon as safely possible. Studies repeatedly confirm that the only safe solution is to pull off the road and take a 20-minute nap. Even better, drink a caffeinated beverage just before the nap. When you wake up, you’ll feel a bit refreshed and the caffeine will start to take effect, giving you a double boost. Then, drive to a place where you can safely sleep longer.