Sleepiness reduces reaction time, decreases awareness and impairs judgment when driving. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of driver fatigue, which include the eyes closing or going out of focus, repeated yawning, irritability, restlessness and impatience. You may also not remember driving the last few miles, drift between lanes or onto the shoulders of the road, and experience back tension, burning eyes, shallow breath or inattentiveness.
Avoid drowsy driving by maintaining a regular sleep schedule, and being sure to get adequate rest before your trip. Do not drink alcohol before you trip, as even consuming a moderate amount of alcohol the night before driving can increase fatigue the following day.
As soon as you start to experience signs of fatigue, you need to get off the road. However, do not simply stop on the side of the road. Instead, take a short nap in a well lit area, or a designated rest area. If possible, avoid driving between 12 am and 6 am. If you have a travel companion, share the responsibility of driving, and talk to your companion throughout the trip. Begin the trip as early in the day as you can. Keep the temperature inside the vehicle cool, and stop every hundred miles to get out and walk around.