Feeling sleepy? What you should know before getting behind the wheel

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Just like drunk driving and distracted driving, dozing off behind the wheel is just as deadly.

Rachel Walker with the Midland Police Department reports that last year there were 40 sleep related traffic crashes, and 17 of those were in the summer months of May through August.

Could you have been involved in one of those crashes? Picture this: you just caught yourself dozing off at the wheel. You’re tired, but home is five hours away. Your eyelids are heavy and you can’t focus. Then you’re faced with the question, should you just power through this drive?

“Fatigued driving is something that’s always a concern. It can have devastating effects. It can impair a driver to the point they cause a serious accident,” MPD Patrol Officer Brian Taylor said. He adds that the best thing you can do is simply pull over and get some sleep.

“If you feel drowsy, if you feel sleepy before you start, you probably shouldn’t start to begin with,” he said.

Things like having trouble remembering the last few minutes you were driving, a wandering mind, and swerving into other lanes are all surefire signs that you shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

If you do have to pull over and nap, Taylor says pull over but get off the highway so you’re not in the way of traffic, then find a safe place like a well-lit gas station.

Taylor also says that younger people, especially men, are the most at-risk population for fatigued driving. Coming in second are shift workers.