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Falling Asleep at the Wheel?

By Kyle Loreti | September 14, 2018

How to know you’re falling asleep at the wheel?

Preparing for the big road trip to see relatives this holiday season? Whether you’re driving five minutes or five hours, you should always be alert when behind the wheel to make sure you are protecting not only yourself but everyone on the road with you. Falling asleep behind the wheel is just as dangerous as driving drunk and rolling your windows down won’t combat the tug of sleepiness, believe it or not falling asleep at the wheel is a criminal offense. It’s important to know the signs of a drowsy driver so you can protect the safety of everyone on the road. While it may not be easy to tell when you’re too tired, here are some signs that it’s time to pull over and take a break.

Falling asleep behind the wheel: Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids.
1. Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, or heavy eyelids.
Falling asleep behind the wheel: Daydreaming, wandering or disconnected thoughts.
2. Daydreaming, wandering or disconnected thoughts.
Falling asleep behind the wheel: Trouble remembering the last few miles driven, missing exits/traffic signs.
3. Trouble remembering the last few miles driven, missing exits/traffic signs.
Falling asleep behind the wheel: Yawning/rubbing your eyes.
4. Yawning/rubbing your eyes.
Falling asleep behind the wheel: Nodding head.
5. Nodding head.
Falling asleep behind the wheel: Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting shoulder strip.
6. Drifting from your lane, tailgating, or hitting shoulder strip.
Falling asleep behind the wheel: Feeling restless/irritable.
7. Feeling restless/irritable.

Operating a vehicle involves making a bunch of small but important decisions and when you’re tired, your reaction times are slowed. While it may seem relatively harmless, drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries and 800 deaths in 2013. So make sure you get plenty of sleep before journeying out on the road!

The best way to prevent falling asleep at the wheel and making sure your mind and body are in optimal driving shape, is to get 7-8 hours of sleep. Other options include: taking a nap before your drive, pull over and take a nap in the car, have a buddy tag team system, avoid driving between midnight and 6am (because of your bodies biological rhythm), the last option would be to drink caffeine to improve alertness for the next few hours.

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