dangerous driving

What is this picture the result of?

Drinking and driving? Nope.

Texting and driving? Nope.

Talking on the phone and driving? Nope.

Eating? Drinking? Putting on make-up? Shaving? No. No. No. No.

While those are all dangerous things to do while you are driving — please don’t do them — the picture is the result of an accident caused by the driver falling asleep.

The driver was me; the picture is from the fall of 1999. I was driving home late one night from a social event over an hour away. Hadn’t been drinking at all but was running too long on too little sleep, fell asleep, ran a red light, and was hit by cross traffic.

Often, we don’t think about how dangerous it is to drive while sleepy. Even if you don’t actually fall asleep, you can’t focus on what you’re doing.

Driving is something we take for granted. It seems that a lot of people forget how dangerous it is and how we really should be paying attention to what we’re doing. You’re moving a 1-to-3 ton hunk of metal around other people at 25 to 80 miles an hour. It’s amazing we’re not all dead.

Here in Phoenix, the weather is rarely a reason for an accident. Yet every morning and every afternoon, there are accidents on the freeways. If everyone would pay attention to where they are going and what/who is in their way, almost all of those accidents would disappear.

Obviously, if you are having trouble keeping your eyes open, you are too tired to drive. Cold air and a loud radio only help a little, if at all, and they definitely don’t help your focus.

Often, the stage before “I can’t keep my eyes open” is frequent blinking. If you are blinking a lot (and don’t have allergies or some other concrete reason to be doing so), you are probably not alert enough to drive safely.

If you are driving along and suddenly realize that you have no idea how you got here or have no recollection of the last several minutes, you are probably too sleepy to be driving.

How to avoid it?

Well, getting enough sleep would be ideal. In addition to making you a safer driver and a generally happier person, sleep is necessary for weight loss and maintenance.

If you are on the road and find yourself too tired to continue safely, find a safe place to pull off for a nap or for the night.

Do you consider your fatigue level before getting in the car?

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