Drowsy Driving Myths

Driving drowsy is incredibly dangerous, and this type of behavior can lead to severe injuries in the event a car accident occurs. Unfortunately, drowsy driving crashes are not uncommon throughout the state of Oregon. Nearly everybody has a remedy for staying awake when they are sleepy behind the wheel, but the reality is that there are some things that prevent drowsy driving and some things they simply do not work at all. Here, we want to bust some myths about drowsy driving in the hopes that this enhances roadway safety for everybody.

Staying awake when drowsy behind the wheel – the myths

There are various methods that drivers use to stay awake behind the wheel when they are sleepy. Chances are, as we go through this list of myths, you have done one or two of these things to stay awake while driving. The following are tactics that simply do not work when trying to stay awake behind the wheel:

  • Listening to music. Listening to loud or upbeat music may make you think that you are awake, but this will not improve your driving skills.
  • Opening window. Fresh or cooler air may be temporarily invigorating, but again, this will not make up for a lack of sleep.
  • Drinking soda or coffee. Caffeine and sugar can give you a temporary lift, but these substances are more likely to make you crash after the initial rush passes.
  • Using stimulants. Over the counter and/or illegal narcotics should never be used when driving. Aside from the possibility of getting a DUI, these drugs can result in other impairments that increase crash risks.

Some of these tactics may work temporarily, but they do not work for very long. In fact, these methods may end up making the situation worse by giving you the false impression that you are not sleepy anymore. It is uncommon for drivers to push their limits and then completely fall asleep behind the wheel.

What you can do to stay safe

According to an article published by the National Safety Council, around 50% of all adult drivers in the US admit to consistently getting behind the wheel while fatigued. Around 20% of adults admit to falling asleep behind the wheel at some point within the previous year. More than 40% of the respondents said they had fallen asleep at least once during their driving careers. That is far too many people sleeping while a vehicle is barreling down the roadway.

Some of the best ways that you can stay safe behind the wheel, whether you are a regular driver or a commercial driver, include the following:

  • Pull over immediately if you feel your eyes getting heavy behind the wheel.
  • Make sure to take frequent breaks on longer driving stints.
  • Get a good night’s sleep ahead of driving longer distances.
  • Visit your doctor if you think you have any potential sleep disorders.
  • Do not over-schedule drivers (targeted at commercial driving activity).

Of course, in an ideal world, nobody would get behind the wheel if they were sleepy. If you absolutely need to get to your destination, consider having a family member or friend drive you or use a rideshare service to get from place to place.