You probably should have gone home from your friend’s house hours ago, but the evening was just too nice and the company too pleasant. Only after you realized you were about to nod off on the couch did you get up to leave.
Your friend gently suggests that you should stay rather than drive home while so tired. Should you listen? Maybe.
Drowsy driving can be deadly
Make no mistake about it: It’s dangerous to drive when you’re overly tired. Drowsy driving is blamed for roughly 100,000 crashes every year – along with about 1,550 deaths and around 71,000 injuries. Before you get behind the wheel of your car, you need to ask yourself these questions:
- Is your body sending clear signs of fatigue? If you’re yawning, rubbing your eyes and finding it hard to keep your eyes open, don’t take chances until you’ve had at least a short nap – even if you don’t want to stay where you are all night.
- Can you remember the last few minutes? If you suddenly realize that you’ve zoned out of the conversation or movie you were watching, that’s a sign that you may be experiencing “microsleeps,” which means you’re literally falling asleep between blinks.
- Is your mood normal? If you feel unreasonably irritated about having to drive home, that could be a strong signal that you’re just not operating on all thrusters. Some sleep will help you make better decisions on the road.
- Is there anything else that may be contributing to your drowsiness? Medication, alcohol and stress can all make fatigue harder to handle. If you feel like maybe a combination of factors has made you sleepier than you expected, it’s better to listen to your body than end up in a wreck.
Unfortunately, not every driver out there will have the sense to stay off the road when they’re overly tired. If you end up in a wreck with a drowsy driver, find out more about your right to compensation for your losses.