Think for a minute about the last time you were really tired and driving somewhere. Even though you may have been driving for years, you still aren’t driving at your best when you’re tired. Now think about your teen that just started driving and doesn’t realize that driving tired is as real a danger as driving drunk!
Driving when you are tired can be extremely dangerous. You can fall asleep at the wheel and have slower reaction times when you’re tired. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are about 100,000 crashes a year due to drowsy driving. These crashes usually occur between 1pm and 4 pm and 2 am and 6 am.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that 51% of adults said they’ve driven drowsy and 17% report to falling asleep at the wheel in the last year.
We need to be setting a good example for our teens by not driving when we’re tired and then teaching them to do the same. Stress to your teen the importance of finding a safe place to pull over and rest or call someone to come get them if they find themselves tired and behind the wheel. You can always go pick up the car later, but the same might not be the case if your child is in an accident. Assure them that you will not be mad at them for calling no matter what time it is. Better safe than sorry!
Here are some warning signs of tiredness behind the wheel that you and your teen should be aware of:
- Inability to keep your eyes open and head up
- Not remembering the last few miles you traveled
- Drifting in and out of your lane
- Hitting rumble strips
Additionally, don’t let your teen drive if you can tell that they are tired before they’ve even left home! If they have to be somewhere to be, such as work or an appointment, tell them you will drive them there and pick them up afterward.