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How to Recognize the Signs of Driver Fatigue

Along with distractions and drunk driving, driver fatigue is one of the most common accident causes on the road.

fatigued driver

Driver fatigue often leads to serious injuries and fatalities, as the driver’s reflexes and speed of reaction are drastically reduced, putting them and everybody else on the road in danger.

Unfortunately, drowsiness while driving is quite common, with about 20% of the road fatalities being caused by it. This happens because the driver either did not recognize the signs of fatigue, or he decided to ignore them.

Stay safe behind the wheel and remember the following signs for road fatigue:

How to Recognize Driver Fatigue

Yawning More and More: As you get more tired, you will feel the need to yawn more often. This is quite an early sign.

Sore Eyes, Heavy Eyelids: Your eyes will be affected by fatigue, especially if you wear glasses or contacts. If you feel your eyelids heavy and your eyes start stinging, it will definitely affect your driving capabilities.

Slower Reaction Times: Do you find yourself reacting slower than usual to normal situations on the road, like changing traffic lights or switching lanes in time? That slow reaction time can be fatal for you or someone else on the road, so don’t let yourself drive if you are fatigued.

Daydreaming and Losing Concentration: This is a common scenario when drivers take long trips at night and the road is monotonous. If you notice that your thoughts are drifting off and you are losing focus on the road, switch places with a passenger or take a break from the road. It is simply too risky to continue driving when you are that tired.

Nodding off: If you are experiencing this symptom while driving, you are already on extremely dangerous ground. Stop immediately and take a nap, and remember that trying to fight sleep off simply doesn’t work.

What to Do If You Are Experiencing Driver Fatigue?

Instead of consuming coffee or energy drinks and thinking that they can fool the part of your brain that controls sleep, try combining this method with a 15-20 minutes power nap. Ideally, you would have a few good hours of sleep before going on the road again, but if the situation doesn’t let you, just pull over, get as comfortable as you can and close your eyes. Even a 15 minutes nap will drastically improve your driving capabilities.

If you believe that “alertness tricks” will work, think again. Opening the window, drinking coffee, turning the radio on, having a conversation with a passenger may give you a false sense of security, but you will still be tired and now overstimulated by those tricks. As mentioned before, only sleep will help you restore your cognitive and motor functions.

Involved in an Accident? Speak With an Attorney!

You may be taking all the necessary precautions to stay safe, but other drivers on the road may not. If you’ve been in a car crash and got injured, then you have the right to compensation for your pain and suffering. Reach out to a St. Louis auto accident lawyer and learn more about your legal rights after an accident. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4242.

Updated: September 13, 2019