Any driver who isn’t physically and mentally able to control a vehicle shouldn’t be on the road. While many people associate an inability to drive with impairment, they might not realize that drowsy driving is just as dangerous. In fact, being awake for 18 hours is the equivalent of having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent, which is considered legally intoxicated.

Because drowsiness might not be obvious to drivers, it is imperative that everyone knows some of the signs to look for. Common signs of being too drowsy to drive include:

  • Yawning often
  • Needing to rub the eyes
  • Wandering thoughts
  • Trouble focusing
  • Heavy eyelids, frequent blinking
  • Problems remembering the drive
  • Missing exits or signs
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Drifting out of lane

Ways to prevent drowsy driving

There are many ways that drivers can ensure they aren’t too drowsy to drive. The most important is to get plenty of rest prior to the trip. Most people will need at least seven to nine hours. However, teenagers might need slightly more. Additionally, try to avoid driving too long in a single day.

People who take medications must be even more careful. Many medications, even some over-the-counter choices, can make drivers drowsy and feel “out of it.” Nobody should take any medications, especially narcotics and allergy medications, until they know how the drugs will make them feel. Before taking something when you know you will have to drive, read the warnings to find out if drowsiness may be a side effect. Some medications have warnings that state you shouldn’t operate heavy machinery after taking it. A vehicle does qualify as a heavy machine.

Drowsy driving crashes

If you are struck by a driver who was drowsy or fatigued, the crash must be handled in the same manner as all others. You should contact emergency services to have the police and paramedics come out to the scene. Any injuries should be evaluated and treated by a doctor. Catastrophic injuries will often dictate long-term care that can be expensive.

People who are struck by a drowsy driver might opt to seek compensation for the damages of the crash. This is done in the Phoenix civil court system. The complaint must be filed quickly since there are time limits that apply to these cases. Be sure to evaluate your options quickly after the wreck.