If you feel tired, you might want to think twice before you get behind the wheel. The statistics show that an exhausted driver is three times more likely to end up in an accident, says the Security Council (NSC). According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving results in about 90,000 crashes per year.
Learn about some of the people who can risk driving while they are drowsy and how to help prevent you from being one.  What are the potential effects of drowsy driving?
National Sleep Foundation's DrowsyDriving.org notes that a number of basic skills can be affected by fatigue. A drowsy driver may experience:
- Delayed reaction time
- Special impaired vision
- Lack of awareness of nearby vehicles and traffic signals and signs
- Aggressive driving behavior
- Reduced hand eye coordination
NHTSA also notes that a tired driver can experience "micro sleeps", where a person experiences involuntary seizures of sleep or unconsciousness. These episodes can be a few seconds, which is enough for a car to run the corresponding football field while moving at 55 miles per hour.
These symptoms tend to get worse, the more tired a person gets, which further reduces the driver's ability to drive a vehicle safely.
Who can be a drowsy driver?
Although someone may become drowsy behind the wheel, some drivers may be at increased risk, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They include:
- Anyone who does not get enough sleep
- Shift workers, including those who work night shifts or long hours
- Drivers with untreated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea
- People using certain medications that can cause drowsiness [1
How can you help prevent drowsy driving?
Whether you belong to a group with a higher risk of drowsiness or not, it is a good idea to take some preventative measures when planning your way. Here are some things you can do:
- Rest up. Make sure you have enough sleep before you get behind the wheel of a car. The National Sleep Foundation says that adults usually need seven to nine hours a night.
- Limit the effects of shift work. If you work with late shifts, it can be difficult to sleep during the day, which can lead to general fatigue. To prevent this, the National Sleep Foundation recommends that you set a sleep as you stick to each day, making sure your bedroom is dark and quiet and avoiding caffeine near your bedtime.
- Plan ahead. If you are planning to go on a road trip, plan your sleep so that you are kind to your journey, says DrowsyDriving.org. If possible, travel with someone who can share the run, and scheduling breaks approximately every two hours.
- Be aware of medical problems. Whether it's a sleep disorder or a medication that makes you sleepy, be aware of any medical issues you have to deal with and adapt your driving habits accordingly. If you do not know the source of your sleep, consult your doctor.
What are the signs of sleep?
Even if you take precautions, it is important to watch for signs of drowsiness while driving. The National Sleep Foundation says that if you experience the following symptoms behind the wheel, it may be time to pull over and rest:
- Heavy eyelids, problem focusing and often flashing
- Walking thoughts
- Do not remember to have driven in recent years  Missing traffic signs or exits
- Frequency driving
- Uneven driving, such as excavation or driving in other paths or on the shaft
- Restlessness or irritability
- It's hard to keep your head up
If you start to experience signs of fatigue, NHTSA recommends that you go over somewhere safe – as a well-lit resting place. Consider drinking a cup or two coffee or another drink with caffeine and taking a short nap. DrowsyDriving.org notes that it takes about half an hour for you to feel the effects of caffeine. If you still feel drowsy (or start to notice signs of fatigue again), it's time to find somewhere safe to get a good night's sleep.
If you are sleepy behind the wheel, you can put yourself and others in danger.
Originally published on March 31, 2014.