There are a few basic rules of driving designed to help you remain safe and avoid causing problems for yourself and other drivers. These are very obvious things like; don’t text and drive, don’t drive while drunk, and don’t drive while tired.
It’s the last rule that we’re going to throw under the microscope today; driving while tired is one of the most dangerous things you can do. It may not seem like much, but it can have a huge impact on your safety, the safety of your passengers, and the safety of other people on the road. There’s a reason most highways have signs telling you to pull over when you’re feeling drowsy – it does bad things to your driving skills. In this piece, we’ll take a look at the true effects tiredness has on your body, and how it can cause problems.
Reduces Your Attention Span
Anyone that’s ever been tired will know that it reduces your attention span quite dramatically. We’ve all felt that drowsy sensation where we’re so tired, we can’t concentrate on anything. All we can think about is going to sleep, and it causes us to daydream and not focus on what we’re doing.
Having a short attention span is something you absolutely do not want as a driver. When you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, you need to be attentive and look at the road in front of you. You must be aware of what other cars are doing and what the road signs are saying, etc. If you’re not, you could easily crash into the back of someone or run a red light because you were too tired to pay proper attention.
As it happens, you can use your reduced attention span to tell yourself something is wrong. It says here http://www.optalert.com/news/driver-fatigue-symptoms-cause-and-effects/ that a narrowing of attention is one of the symptoms of driver fatigue. So, if you notice your attention is going, then it’s a sign to pull over, take a rest, and stop driving.
One of the more obvious effects of tiredness is that it causes you to fall asleep. As it mentions here http://www.morrisjamespersonalinjurylawyers.com/practice_areas/delaware-auto-accident-lawyers.cfm, falling asleep at the wheel is a prime reason accidents occur. The main reason for this is that you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing or what is going on. Essentially, you’re driving while blind. Actually, that does a disservice to any blind people, who could probably drive a lot better than someone who’s asleep at the wheel.
When you’re asleep, even for a few seconds, you have no awareness at all. Your hands might even come off the wheel, your foot could slip on the gas and shoot you forwards, or you might steer into the opposite lane. So many things can happen when you don’t have your eyes on the road.
Shockingly, a large proportion of drivers admit to falling asleep while driving at least once in their lifetime. It’s such a basic thing to avoid, and yet so many of us do it. I mentioned in this article here https://newsingeneral.com/surprising-trends-behind-making-driving-safer/ that driverless cars are coming in the future. This is one way to help negate the effects of sleeping at the wheel, making cars a lot safer for everyone. If the car drives itself, then there’s no worry of the driver falling asleep and not know what they’re doing.
Limits your reaction time
It’s often discussed how a lack of sleep can reduce your reaction time while driving. This isn’t just one of those statements people pluck out of thin air to scare you into driving safely. There’s hard evidence to support this, as shown here https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/sleep-deprivation-can-slow-reaction-time.
With a slow reaction time, you run the risk of not being able to do certain things quickly. For example, let’s say a car in front of you brakes suddenly, and you’re too tired to react normally. If you were nice and alert, you’d slam your brake pedal down almost instantly and come to an emergency stop. However, now that you’re tired, your react too late and drive into the back of them.
Driver’s need to have decent reactions to stay safe on the roads and avoid needless accidents. This is why elderly people are discouraged from driving after a certain age, as their reactions slow down.
In summary; tiredness affects you in numerous ways. All of these things come together to make you a hazardous driver. If you want to keep yourself – and others – safe at all times, never drive when tired.