We have all been there, climbed behind the wheel while we are feeling tired not really thinking of the dangers associated with it. Driving is one of those times where we really need to focus and pay attention to what is happening around us and make sure we have the reaction time to react if anything were to happen. Sleep deprivation and fatigue make lapses of attention more likely to happen.
Drowsy driving is dangerous because sleep deprivation can have similar effects on your body similar to those when drinking alcohol. When you are awake for long periods, not getting the sleep you need or have had a particularly tiring day it can leave you and your brain lethargic and tired.
If you are awake for 18 hours straight it makes you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .05 (for reference, .08 is considered drunk). If you’ve been awake for a full 24 hours and drive, it’s like you have a blood alcohol level of .10.
Signs of drowsy driving are trouble focusing, heavy eyelids, an inability to remember the last stretch of road that you just drove, yawning constantly, bobbing your head, and drifting from your lane. If this starts to happen while you're driving, pull over if you can do so safely and take a 20-minute nap or buy a cup of caffeinated coffee to help keep you alert.
If you have someone else in the car, switch drivers. Also, driving during your most alert period of the day (like in the morning, instead of late at night) is a good idea. Taking these simple precautions will help lower your risk and stress level during a road trip.