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What to do if you are too drowsy to drive

Many safe driving campaigns in the United States focus on the dangers of drinking or texting while driving. However, driving while feeling drowsy can be just as dangerous. In one study, half of American drivers admitted they got behind the wheel at least at one point while feeling too tired to operate a motor vehicle. 

Many people drive after working a double shift or after getting a poor night's sleep. Being awake for more than 20 hours can make you drive as though you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, which is the legal limit. To avoid a horrific car accident, it is critical to know when you feel drowsy and what to do. 

Know the signs of being drowsy

You may think you are okay to drive, but you need to pay attention to what your body tells you. Some of the most common signs of drowsiness include:

  • Drifting into the rumble strips of freeways
  • Missing traffic signs and exits
  • Having difficulty holding your head up
  • Daydreaming and being unable to remember the last few miles you drove
  • Constantly rubbing your eyes and yawning

Take a nap

If you feel drowsy before getting behind the wheel, then you should consider taking a quick nap. Even sleeping for 20 minutes is enough to recharge you enough to get home safely. If you are already on the road, then you should pull off to a safe spot. You can get some quick rest before continuing your journey. 

Play mental exercises

If you have the option, you should play mind games to keep your brain focused on the road ahead. Even playing something like eye-spy or the alphabet game can be enough to keep you focused on the task at hand. When you engage your mind, you can focus on other cars and drive safely. Most importantly, you need to be aware of your abilities and know when it is not safe to drive. 

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