Driving is not a task that requires great effort or energy, yet driving fatigue is all too real. As many truckers, commuters, and road travelers know, drowsiness can drop on you like a hammer. And when heavy eyelids set in, driving becomes a danger. While it is true that coffee and energy drinks can give you a boost, some levels of drowsiness require sleep instead of supplements. If you drive for work, whether it’s a commercial semi or your own personal vehicle, then drowsy driving is a prevalent issue.
Similarities between Drowsy and Drunk Driving
Drowsy driving affects everyone on the road the same way a drunk or intoxicated driving does. Drowsy drivers have slower reaction times, have more trouble making decisions, and can accidentally fall asleep. In fact, according to the CDC, Center for Disease Control found that 1 out of 25 persons over 18 said they fell asleep at least once while driving in the past 30 days. This is especially worrisome when you take into account the speed and size of the vehicle they were driving.
Not All Limits Need To Be Pushed
Although most people have driven while a bit drowsy while driving, too many people push the limits of their drowsiness or underestimate it. Simply opening a window to get some fresh air or blasting the radio will not do enough to keep you attentive. If you are a commercial driver or drive for your own business purposes, you may feel the need to “drive” through it, which is why commercial drivers are one of the most affected groups of drowsy driving.
Fast Heart, Tired Eyes
As mentioned before, there are plenty of energy supplements claiming to give you the boost you need. But it may not be a lack of energy as much as it is a lack of sleep that is holding you back. People underestimate the power of a good night’s rest, in fact at least 7-9 hours of sleep are recommended for adults. For some people, the only thing getting between them and a good night’s sleep is an undiagnosed sleeping disorder.
I’m No Doctor, But You Look Tired
Since you are unlikely to be a medical expert you may not know you have a sleeping disorder. You may hear people jokingly say or complain about their “insomnia” but the truth is that sleeping disorders are no joke. Lack of sleep not only affects your motor function but your overall health as well. Sometimes these disorders can be managed by improving sleeping habits, and others are combated with medication. In either case, it does not hurt to learn and practice better sleeping habits.
Below is a list of sleeping tips as recommended by the CDC.
- Consistency is Key– Be consistent, go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.
- Molded By The Darkness – Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
- Unplug To Unwind – Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom
- Late Night SNACK, not Meal – Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime
- Get Some Exercise – Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.