Regardless of your age, the proper amount of sleep is essential to your health and well-being. Not only does sleep keep you feeling your best, but it also enhances your safety when behind the wheel of an automobile.
Drowsy driving is a problem throughout the United States. Additionally, it's a problem that will never go away, as there will always be people who attempt to operate a motor vehicle when they're not 100 percent alert.
There are many issues with drowsy driving, including the following:
- It slows your reaction time, such as if you need to stop suddenly
- It makes you less likely to pay attention to the road and what's happening around you (such as a pedestrian crossing the street)
- It affects your ability to make the right decisions
To better understand just how big of a problem it's become, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention share this statistic:
"An estimated 1 in 25 adult drivers (aged 18 years or older) report having fallen asleep while driving in the previous 30 days."
So, when you look around at other drivers on the road, there's a good chance that at least one of them has fallen asleep at the wheel in the recent past.
Are you likely to drive drowsy?
Every driver has full control over whether they drive when drowsy. Even so, some people are more likely to feel this way. They include:
- Drivers who don't get enough sleep
- Drivers who take medication that causes drowsiness
- Commercial drivers who spend long periods of time on the road
- People who work long shifts or the night shift
- People who suffer from a sleep disorder
When should you pull over?
If you feel the slightest bit drowsy it's a good idea to pull to safety. Here are some additional signs that it's time to get off the road:
- You missed your last turn or exit
- Uncontrollable blinking and/or yawning
- Drifting from your lane of travel
- Almost hitting other objects, such as signs and parked cars
Even if you're alert, there could be other drivers who are too drowsy to be operating a motor vehicle. If one of these people cause an accident, pull to safety and call 911.
Your health is top priority, but, if possible, share information regarding the accident with the responding officer.
As you recover, your attention should turn to reviewing your insurance policy, filing a claim and protecting your legal rights. You can learn more about your legal rights as a driver in Maryland by visiting our website.