In the age of too much to do and too little sleep, the dangers of drowsy driving are as prevalent as they’ve ever been. Since we want our local drivers in Brockton, Randolph, and Stoughton to be safe on the road and alert behind the wheel, Collision 24 dove into the dangers of driving under the influence of sleepiness.

How can drivers prevent sleepy skids or, even worse, crashes caused by fatigue while in the driver’s seat? Let’s start with how a tired body reacts to making on-road judgements. When you think about it, the impairment associated with drowsy driving is quite eye opening.

Nightmarish Consequences Await Drowsy Drivers

Probably the most obvious effect of driving sleepy is experiencing slower reaction times. Much in the same way that drunk driving delays judgment on the road, the increased amount of time that it takes drowsy drivers to execute on-road maneuvers is incrementally slower. Whether it’s missing a stop sign or not registering the actions of another car until you hear the crunch of its bumper, slow reaction times reduce driving performance and put you and others at risk.

Yourbrain also experiences a reduced ability to process information and short-term memory loss when driving on an inadequate amount of sleep. Maybe the school zone speed limit slipped your mind moments after seeing it or you happened to misinterpret a common traffic sign and get into the wrong turn lane. As you can imagine, a fuzzy focus on the road instantly elevates your chances of getting into a costly crash or collision.

Drowsy drivers also have the tendency to exhibit more aggressive behavior and an increased potential to lash out at a situation or another driver’s actions.

Maybe the worst of all drowsy driving dangers are 2- to 3-second consciousness lapses the National Sleep Foundation refers to as micro-sleeps that put drivers at risk of losing control of the wheel altogether.

How to Stay Awake

The number one way to avoid drowsy driving risks is obvious: Get at least seven hours of sleep per night. More sleep has benefits than just increased alertness behind the wheel, improving your productivity and focus at work or school too.

dangers of drowsy drivingAnother way to keep your lids lifted on the road is recognizing the warning signs associated with drowsy driving and immediately taking action. If you feel as though you’re struggling to keep your eyes open, you’re having issues paying attention to the road, you sense that you’re drifting in the lane, or you notice that you’re missing signals and signs, pull over to a safe location and rest your eyes. If you can, take a power nap for 15 to 20 minutes.

You can also improve your alertness factor by driving with a buddy. Not only will you save on gas by carpooling but having somebody in the passenger seat ensures that you have a companion to talk to and take turns driving if need be.

If driving on long trips, plan breaks roughly every two hours so you’re less likely to fall into fatigued driving tendencies, even if that’s just getting out of your car for a few minutes and stretching your legs or seeing different scenery.

Drinking coffee or caffeinated soda is also your ally in attentive driving. Two cups of coffee can sharpen your senses and keep you alert for several hours.

You have the power to avoid accidents caused by drowsy driving. Brockton, Randolph, and Stoughton drivers should know the warning signs, get plenty of Z’s at home, and plan to stay safe and alert each time you’re on the road.