How to Know You're Too Tired to Drive

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Written by: The Benton Law Firm Last Updated : January 9, 2023

As a truck driver, you may drive hundreds of miles a day. Your job depends on efficient deliveries and safe driving records. Even though the laws on required rest have become more health-conscious, driving while tired is a serious concern for any professional driver. One mistake can be devastating for your career and your life. Here are some ways to tell it’s time to pull over and rest.

Although many of these signs may seem obvious to read, drivers commonly ignore them on the road. If you start to notice them, take some time to rest instead of pushing yourself to stay awake. A 30-minute nap can rejuvenate your body and provide you with the alertness you need to get the job done safely. Be aware of these symptoms:

You feel lulled. Repetitive driving can become a lulling activity. When you start to feel that cozy tiredness creep in and your attention starts to waiver, your body is going into rest mode. This can happen whether you’re physically tired or not. Try pulling over and doing a few jumping jacks or taking a short nap to feel refreshed.

You can’t keep your eyes open. You may think this will never happen to you, but tiredness can creep up on you unannounced. Before you know it, your eyes are shutting on the road for seconds at a time. Those seconds could be devastating. When this level of tiredness hits you, pull over as soon as possible and rest.

Your eyes are red and irritated. Over time, fatigue can cause physical symptoms. Your eyes may start to get dry, scratchy, and irritated. This pain can worsen if the sunlight is too bright. Eye drops, lots of water, and rest should restore your eyes to a comfortable level of moisture.

Drifting. When you start to lose focus, you may start to make small movements with the wheel and drift into another lane. If you start to notice yourself drifting, your driving is impaired. You likely need rest before getting back out on the road.

Lost time. Even if you aren’t asleep at the wheel, daydreaming or losing time during your drive could be a sign of fatigue.

Being jolted to attention. Like being startled awake, being jolted to attention by a pothole, traffic, or another road variable could slow your reaction time and make your heart race. The adrenaline may make you feel awake temporarily, but it’s still a sign you’re not getting enough rest.

Only you know your body and the common signs of getting tired. While slight tiredness may not cause impaired driving, moderate tiredness can. The repetitiveness of long-distance driving may put you to sleep even with adequate rest. To prevent impairment on the road:

  • Pull over and nap as necessary.
  • Get enough sleep each night.
  • Eat a snack with complex carbs and protein to avoid a blood sugar slump.
  • Drink caffeine.
  • Listen to upbeat music.
  • Get some physical activity at each rest stop.

Recognizing the signs of fatigue and addressing them promptly could prevent a life altering trucking accident. With a few simple fatigue-prevention tips, you can drive more safely on the roads each day. Drivers can get into accidents for many different reasons. Don’t let fatigue be one of them.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a fatigued driving accident, our truck accident attorney can help. Accidents caused by exhaustion can be emotionally charged and physically life-altering. We can help you obtain the compensation you need to get well after an accident. For more information, reach out to our qualified team today.

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