Dangers of Driving Tired
Driving while tired is dangerous. In fact, a recent European study has shown that prolonged nighttime driving can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Published in the Journal of Sleep Research, this study clams that nearly 20% of motorized vehicle accidents in industrialized countries can be attributed to driver fatigue. What’s more, the psychological and physiological effects of driving drunk and driving drowsy are virtually the same.
If you were planning to pull an all-night drive this holiday season in order to avoid rush hour, stop and rethink your choice. Sleepy driving impairs alertness and response time, which can greatly increase your chances of being involved in an accident.
The good news? Driver fatigue can be avoided without much trouble. The following are tips to help you easily recognize the signs of driver fatigue and some straightforward advice to help you avoid drowsy driving.
Symptoms of Driver Fatigue
In order to avoid driving your car rental when drowsy you need to be able to correctly identify drowsy driving symptoms. Common indicators include feeling groggy, sleepy, or exhausted. If you find yourself yawning constantly behind the wheel of your car rental, it’s time to take a break. Drowsy drivers have trouble concentrating and are easily irritated. Other common symptoms include daydreaming, feelings of impatience, stiffness, heavy eyes, and slow reactions.
It is often difficult for drivers to diagnose these symptoms on their own. If you are traveling with a passenger in your car rental, ask them to monitor your driving if you plan to hit the road late at night. Key signs include drifting in and out of your lane, problems steering, and lulls in conversation.
If you’re driving on your own, stay focused on your travels. Not being able to remember the last few seconds or minutes of driving is a clear warning sign of drowsy driving.
When You’re At Risk for Drowsy Driving
Did you know that your body’s energy levels natural drop at certain times of the day? This is due to your body’s circadian rhythms. These rhythms control your sleep cycle and are commonly referred to as your “internal clock”. As such, try to avoid driving during natural energy lows. These fall between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. as well as from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
How to Prevent Drowsy Driving Behind the Wheel of Your Car Rental
The best way to prevent sleepy driving when on vacation is getting ample amounts of rest. Of course, that isn’t always possible. As such, you can minimize the risks of driving while drowsy by following these suggestions:
• Avoid drinking alcohol, eating large meals, or taking any medications that may cause drowsiness.
• Establish a driving plan. Make sure that it is realistic and includes healthy break periods.
• Stay hydrate. While you may be tempted to fuel up on coffee, this will actually cause you to become dehydrated. If you need caffeine, make sure that you grab a bottle of water in between cups.
• Stay simulated by opening the window in your car rental or turning on the radio. But be careful, overstimulation can become distracting.
• Share the driving with a passenger whenever possible.
• If driving alone, remember to take a break at least every two hours.
Age is a Factor
The older you get, the harder it is to stay alert behind the wheel for an extended period of time. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Shift workers, truck drivers, and underage car rental drivers are also at an increased risk for fatigue-related car crashes as these folks are more likely to get behind the wheel when tired.
According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver fatigue accounts for an estimated 100,000 crashes every year, resulting in 71,000 injuries and 1,500 fatalities.
Feeling drowsy? Then don’t get behind the wheel. Arrive alive this holiday season!
How do you stay alert and focused during a long drive? Share your tips and advice below. Haven’t reserved your holiday car rental yet? There’s still time! Book your rental today using the Car Rental Express comparison search engine.