Driving while drowsy can seem harmless but can lead to serious trouble, especially in Texas. It is critical to understand what drowsy driving is, how it happens and what the consequences are if you take the risk of driving while under this state of impairment, so we can all work together to prioritize safety on the road.
What is drowsy driving?
Drowsy driving refers to operating a vehicle while feeling excessively tired or fatigued. Either of these can impair your ability to focus, react quickly and make sound judgments while behind the wheel. Drowsiness can cause lapses in attention, leading to delayed reactions and an increased risk of accidents.
Drowsy driving in Texas
While Texas does not have specific laws addressing drowsy driving, this offense can fall under reckless driving or negligence. If law enforcement catches you driving while tired or fatigued, you could face legal consequences such as fines, license suspension, increased insurance rates and even criminal charges.
Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving contributes to an estimated 100,000 car crashes yearly, resulting in thousands of injuries and deaths. Most of these accidents happen during late-night or early-morning hours.
How do I know if I am too tired or fatigued to drive?
Recognizing the signs of drowsy driving is not as easy as identifying the signs of drunk driving, and it can be more challenging to realize that one is driving in this state. However, there are clear signs that indicate that you should not be behind the wheel, including:
- Frequent yawning and blinking
- Difficulty keeping your eyes open
- Drifting from your lane
- Trouble remembering where you are
- Feeling restless or irritable
- Missing signs and exits
While it is not always possible to avoid driving at night or to only drive when you are completely rested, there are things you can do to prevent drowsy driving and your chance of getting into an accident. Some of these things are:
- Ensuring you get enough sleep
- If you need to drive at night, driving with a partner
- Taking regular breaks while driving
- Avoid alcohol and medications
- Use caffeine wisely
Even though it is not discussed as often as drunk driving, drowsy driving is dangerous. It leads to more accidents than most people think. It is critical to understand the dangers of drowsy driving and do everything you can to avoid getting behind the wheel if you are impaired.