4 signs that you are too tired to drive on Illinois roads

Drowsy driving is responsible for hundreds of deaths every year. It is preventable though recognizing the signs and taking proactive measures.

When most people hear the phrase, "impaired driving," they likely think of someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, people in Illinois who are driving while drowsy are also considered impaired, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Exhaustion can cause the following to occur:

  • A slowed response time
  • A lack of alertness
  • An inability to make good decisions
  • Poor judgment

The NHTSA estimates that drowsy driving was related to 846 fatalities across the country in 2014. In order to prevent an unnecessary death, injury or crash, it is vital for people to be able to recognize the following signs that they are too tired to drive:

1. Inability to recall miles driven

The National Sleep Foundation points out that people who are having difficulty remembering driving the past few minutes should not be driving. This could also include failing to see traffic signs or missing an exit or turn due to inattentiveness.

2. Heavy eyelids

Eyelids that feel heavy or a constant blinking could indicate that someone is too tired to drive. Someone who feels the urge to rub his or her eyes or who continues to yawn should pull over to get some rest.

3. Drifting lanes

Drifting lanes could cause a serious car accident. The moment this starts, it should be a warning sign to a driver that his or her ability to remain safe on the road is in jeopardy. Other common behaviors associated with drowsy driving include hitting the rumble strips on the side of the road or following other cars too closely.

4. Restlessness

A general feeling of irritability or restlessness could indicate fatigue. Everyone may respond to exhaustion differently, though it is common for someone to feel annoyed or grumpy due to a lack of sleep.

Battling drowsy driving

Simply recognizing the symptoms of drowsy driving is not enough. To best avoid a fatal car accident or other tragedy, people must be proactive. For example, before going on a road trip, drivers should plan to stop and take a break every 100 miles or every few hours. If possible, another driver should be present to trade shifts.

Rolling down the windows, blasting cold air and consuming caffeine are short-term measures that can give someone a boost. However, in the long-term, these are not effective measures. Drivers - especially people who operate commercial vehicles - should be sure they are getting enough sleep on a regular basis and feel rested before getting behind the wheel.

People who have concerns about this topic should speak with a personal injury attorney in Illinois.