When you get behind the wheel, regardless of how long you’ll be there, it’s critical that your mind is fresh and clear. Should you take to the road when you’re drowsy, you put yourself and everyone else at risk of an accident and serious injury.

Here are just a few of the many ways that drowsiness affects your ability to drive safely:

  • Slower reaction times: With slower reaction times, you may not be able to prevent an accident. For example, if someone darts out in front of your vehicle, a slower reaction could cause you to strike them.
  • Decreased psychomotor coordination: With this, you lose the ability to operate a motor vehicle in a safe manner. For instance, you want your muscles to do one thing, but it takes a while for them to go into motion.
  • Reduced vigilance: When you’re alert, you know what’s happening around you and how you’ll deal with all potential risks. But when you’re drowsy, you’ll struggle to remain vigilant, which impacts your safety. 

If you’re feeling drowsy, even if you’re close to your destination, pull to the side of the road and consider what to do next. It’s always best to wait until you’re feeling alert before you get back on the road.

As you pay close attention to your own mental state, you should also consider the fact that other drivers could become drowsy on the road. They pose just as much risk to you, so do your best to maintain a safe distance. If a drowsy driver causes an accident, assess the situation, call 911 and file an insurance claim as time allows. An experienced advocate can help you understand your rights if you’ve been injured.