Drive fatigue is one of many causes of serious auto accidents in the United States. It’s estimated that around 37% of the working population doesn’t get the recommended seven hours of sleep each night, meaning that many drivers are on the road when they may be too drowsy to drive safely.
Sleep deprivation can impact your driving skills similarly to how alcohol would. That’s why it’s so important to get an adequate amount of rest before getting behind the wheel.
What are some common causes of fatigue?
Not getting enough sleep isn’t the only reason that someone will feel fatigued. Other possible causes could include:
- Boredom and completing monotonous tasks for long period of time
- Long periods of inactivity
- Sleep disorders
- Medications that cause drowsiness
- Being awake for too long
- The time of day, since the body has a sleep/wake cycle
The thing to remember about these issues is that you have some control over them. If you focus on getting at least seven hours of sleep nightly but still feel tired, you should consider seeing a medical professional to see if there are health problems affecting your sleep.
Steps people can take to be safer on the roads
To be safer on the roads and to avoid fatigue leading to a crash, people can take a few steps. The first is to recognize the signs of being tired, such as yawning, nodding off or forgetting what has happened over the last few miles.
If you notice that you’re tired behind the wheel, consider pulling over to take a 15- to 30-minute nap. If you don’t have time for that, consider drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee before you continue. The effects of these two actions won’t last long, but they may help you stay awake enough to get to your destination safely.
Driving drowsy is a hazard to others. If you’re involved in a crash because the other party was asleep behind the wheel or not paying attention, you should know that you may be able to hold them accountable and make a claim against them for the damage they’ve caused.