You always try to drive safely. If you have a few drinks with dinner, you have someone else drive home. If you get a text message in the car, you wait until you arrive to check it; maybe you turn your phone off completely while you drive. If you need to put a new route in your GPS, you find a safe place to pull over, rather than trying to do it on the fly.
That’s good, and it can keep you — and others — safe on the roads in Canada. This focus on safety can prevent many car accidents and should be a focus for drivers of all ages.
However, there is one threat that many people overlook: drowsy driving. Fatigued driving can become incredibly dangerous and so experts say that it is impaired driving. Being too tired impairs you in much the same way as alcohol.
For instance, think about your reaction times. If something changes unexpectedly — a car stopping ahead of you to make a turn — your reaction may be sluggish. If you’re drunk, you may not realize what happened as quickly as you would otherwise. If you’re overly fatigued, your brain may struggle to piece things together and make key observations. It’s not all that different, even though you’re sober.
Drunk driving and fatigued driving also increase the risk of passing out or nodding off behind the wheel. When you’re intoxicated, it’s because the drug is a depressant that slows your body down and makes you tired. When you’re fatigued, it’s because the drone of the road noise can lull you to sleep. Either way, if you close your eyes for even a moment, it’s enough to drift off of the road or crash into another car. You may wake up in the oncoming lanes, right before an accident.
Why do people think it’s safe?
If it’s clear that fatigued driving is so dangerous, why do people still do it? Why do they think it’s safe?
Most of the time, they feel like they can just “power through” and stay awake until they arrive. They may feel tired but all right to drive when they first get behind the wheel. After a few miles, though, the vibration, noise and constant motion take their toll. They don’t realize just how tired they are or how dangerous it is until it’s too late.
Even when you stay out of the car if you’re too tired, other drivers will engage in fatigued driving and they will cause accidents. You need to make sure that you know all of the rights you have after suffering injuries in one of these crashes.