You’d probably never drink and drive. But many people drive while they’re tired, which can be just as dangerous. Part of the danger comes from the fact that you may not realize how tired you are. If you haven’t had enough sleep, you may think you’re fine, but studies show that driving tired is similar to being drunk while you’re driving. If you’re awake for 18 hours, your impairment is similar to someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 percent. After 24 hours awake, your impairment is comparable to a BAC of .10 percent, which would qualify as drunk driving in all states.
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About 2.5 percent of fatal crashes and 2 percent of crashes causing injury involve drowsy driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is an estimate, and the actual numbers are probably even higher, because the cause of a drowsy driving accident isn’t always verified.
The following tips can help you avoid drowsy driving:
Know the warning signs
Watch out for signs that you're drowsy, including yawning or blinking frequently, missing your exit, and drifting from your lane.
Give yourself enough time
Especially if you’re driving a long distance, give yourself plenty of time to make the trip so you can stop if you need to.
Drive with a passenger
He or she can help keep you alert by talking to you and watching for signs of fatigue. If necessary, the other passenger can take a turn behind the wheel.
Pull over if you need to
If you get sleepy while you’re driving, pull over at a safe place and take a nap for about 20 minutes. When you wake up, get out of the car, stretch, and take a short walk.
Create the right sleeping environment
Don’t watch TV or use other electronics in your bedroom. Make it a comfortable place to recharge, and curl up on a Land of Sleep mattress to help you get the rest you need.
Get enough sleep
An average adult needs at least 7.5 hours a night. It’s not really possible to “catch up” on your sleep on the weekend, so make it a priority to get enough on a nightly basis.