When you live in a fast-paced society, it may seem normal to be constantly busy. You may juggle work, your household needs, your children’s after school activities, play dates and more, and it may feel like you are constantly on the go. However, this much activity can leave you exhausted, especially if you are not getting enough sleep at night.
There is nothing inherently wrong with having a busy lifestyle, but it is important to make sure you get enough sleep every night. Driving a vehicle after even one night without enough sleep could put you and others at risk.
Drowsy driving can be as risky as drunk driving
Driving when drowsy can cause you to fall asleep at the wheel, but it can become dangerous long before that might occur. Sleep deprivation can cause some of the same effects as drinking alcohol, such as slowing your reaction times, impairing your ability to think and reducing your ability to focus.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, being awake for 18 hours straight will make someone drive as if he or she has a blood alcohol level of .05. Being awake for 24 hours will make someone drive as if he or she has a blood alcohol level of .10. A blood alcohol level of .08 is the legal limit.
How tired is too tired?
You may be too tired to drive safely if you notice that:
- You are yawning frequently
- You are nodding your head
- Your eyelids are heavy
- You struggle to remember the past few miles driven
- You are drifting from your lane
- You hit the rumble strip while driving
Generally, if you get seven or eight hours of sleep every night, you should not be too tired to drive safely. However, if you are getting enough sleep and you are still tired, you may consider sharing your concerns with your doctor. Your medications or an untreated sleep disorder could be causing your sleepiness.
Although you may have a lot going on in your life, it is always important to make enough time for sleep. Drowsy driving risks your safety, but it also risks the safety of your passengers and others on the roadway.