Drowsy driving might not sound as dangerous as drunk driving or distracted driving but can lead to the same results: a severe car accident. Driving while tired or sleepy can impair your ability to stay alert, which means you may respond slower to obstacles on the road or fall asleep at the wheel entirely.

Some of the most common reasons for drowsy driving include a lack of sleep, working late-night shifts, or untreated sleep disorders. Any of these factors can pose a risk for yourself and others.

To stay safe while on the road, you should avoid drowsy driving. These following tips can help:

  • Get a full night’s sleep: A total of 7-8 hours of sleep is the best way to ensure you’re well-rested enough to drive. If you know you’ll be working a late shift or going on a long drive, make sure to prepare early by giving yourself enough sleep the night before.
  • Avoid the peak periods of sleepiness: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that the most common times for drowsiness are between midnight and 6 A.M. and in the late afternoon. Plan your trips around these times to minimize the effect of sleepiness while you’re on the road.
  • Check your prescriptions or medications: Certain medications may have drowsiness as a side-effect. This may be what’s causing your sleepiness while driving.
  • Stop when you feel too tired: If you’re on a long drive or driving late at night and keep yawning or nodding off for a few seconds, you should immediately pull over and take a break. Park at a rest area or gas station where you can recharge, take a short nap, or have a snack to boost your energy. It’s better to be late to your destination than to end up in an accident.
  • Have someone pick you up instead: If you regularly work late nights or you feel extra tired after a shift, you should call a friend or family member to pick you up instead.
  • Do not drink if you’re tired: If you’re already tired, drinking alcohol can amplify your sleepiness and cause even more risks when you drive.

Drowsy driving should be taken as seriously as other types of impaired driving. It can lead to severe accidents, which can cause devastating injuries and fatalities. In fact, the NHTSA reported that drowsy driving may cause up to 6,000 fatal crashes each year.

You can avoid the dangers of drowsy driving by following the steps mentioned above. And if you sustain injuries from a drowsy driving-related accident, a personal injury attorney can help you recover your losses.