This is a question you should never have to ask yourself when you are behind the wheel, unfortunately, many drivers have. Here at Trubicars, we hope that you never have to ask yourself that question when you are behind the wheel.
Whether you are pulling early morning and late nights at the office, driving long distances, driving overnight, or experiencing anything else that is causing you to feel fatigued or having you struggle to stay awake, you should never get behind the wheel. Ontario studies have shown that collisions involving drowsy drivers tend to occur during late nights and early mornings.
Dangers of Drowsy Driving and How to Avoid It?
1. Drowsy Driving is Just as Dangerous as Impaired Driving:
Driving while fatigued can significantly diminish your ability to focus on the road.
For one, your reaction time is slower, and your reaction time is based on the level of exhaustion you are experiencing.
Two, your decision-making ability is altered. Studies show that when you are extremely fatigued, you tend to be more impulsive. This means, that when you are behind the wheel, you might think you have more time to execute a safe turn or navigate through an intersection when in reality- you don’t have enough time to make it through safely.
Three, the focus is harder to maintain. When you are extremely fatigued, your attention span diminishes, and it’s significantly easier to be confused.
Four, your vision is altered. Not only do the above issues occur when you are fatigued, but your vision can also be impacted. Your depth perception can be thrown off and you may become more sensitive to light, and you may experience blurry vision and, an increased need to yawn (at which your eyes will close
2. Warning Signs of Drowsiness
Listed below are some indicators that your drowsiness is serious enough to be a risk:
You have difficulty keeping your eyes open
Your head keeps tilting (either back or forth)
You frequently yawn
You can’t remember details about the road you have just been driving on
You are missing traffic lights and traffic signals
You are drifting your vehicle into other lanes and have to keep correcting
You have briefly drifted off and have only just avoided a collision
While it may be hard to prove that a driver is sleep-deprived and thus be convicted of drowsy driving, if you are responsible for a collision while driving drowsy you may be fined for careless or dangerous driving.
If you want to avoid driving drowsy here are some tips from us at Trubicars to consider:
Let Someone Else Who is Able to, Drive: If you have a passenger who has a valid license and is feeling alert, let them drive (even for short trips!)
Take a Rest: If you are driving long distances, there are many safe stops on highways that have resting areas. Take a brief walk, or even a brief nap in order to feel more alert.
Eat Well: While caffeine and sugar may give you a brief spout of energy, it’s important to note that these spouts of energy will not last long. Ensure that you have consumed a nutritious snack and are appropriately hydrated for more sustained energy (be sure not to snack or drink behind the wheel though!)
Remember: You cannot trick your body into staying awake; sleep is important and one of our basic needs as humans.
At Trubicars we emphasize to our students that driving is a big responsibility, and it is your duty as an operator of a motorized vehicle to ensure that you remain safe and responsible behind the wheel, not just for your sake, but for the sake of others. If you are looking for more information on the Dangers of Drowsy Driving, check out the Trubicars website!