It almost feels like torture trying to drive when you’re devastatingly tired. According to the AAA last year, 21% of all fatal vehicle accidents involved driving while fatigued. If you’re feeling tired, it’s smart to find a rest stop to recoup or take a nap. Fighting your sleep causes your body to suffer from fatigue and cause microsleeps. Microsleeps cause your body to shut down and doze off for a few seconds. Fatigue and microsleeps while driving can be a deadly combination.
It’s essential to recognize if you are operating your vehicle in a state of sleep deficiency. If you are consistently getting less sleep than your body needs, you’ll build up a sleep debt. Sleep debts can be caused by a reduction in sleep hours or being disturbed in the middle of the night. Sleep that is fragmented by distractions such as snoring or crying babies can drastically reduce your sleep quality. Most people need about 7 or 8 hours of sleep to wake up feeling well-rested. And a reduction of sleep can affect each person differently.
Depending on how tired a driver is will determine how dangerous their driving will be. If you’ve been awake for 17 to 19 hours, your driving will be as dangerous as someone who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of around 0.05%. If you haven’t been asleep in 24 hours or more, your driving would be equivalent to a completely drunk driver. Operating your vehicle with a lack of sleep can cause people to drive at inconsistent speeds and drift in their lane. Lack of sleep can also reduce reaction time to major hazards and cause you to forget the last few feet you drove. In the case of a driving hazard, you may be slow to brake or move out of the way leading to a major accident.
Fatigued driving is distracted driving. If you’re feeling tired, it’s best to find a rest stop or find a place that’s suitable to take a nap. Operating heavy machinery deserves your focused and undivided attention. Prioritize your safety and health by dedicating a few extra hours for sleep.