When drivers are drowsy, their driving skills suffer. They may miss seeing traffic signals, weave between lanes and make other errors in judgment. They may even fall asleep at the wheel with predictably disastrous results. Sleepy drivers are a significant danger on the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drowsy driving causes 56,000 car accidents every year in the United States, and that the actual number is likely to be considerably higher.
Big meals can make people sleepy. On Thanksgiving, for example, most of us have probably experienced falling into a sort of stupor after overeating at dinner-- the proverbial "turkey coma." If you are feeling drowsy after a big meal, try to avoid driving right away. Stay where you are and chat for a while. According to Smart Motorist, the best things you can do when you are feeling sleepy are to drink at least two cups of coffee (or the equivalent amount of caffeine) or to take a nap for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
Smart Motorist says that many popular folk remedies that supposedly keep drivers awake are not scientifically proven, and they may not work. These include pinching yourself, sticking your head out the window, chewing gum, singing or screaming.
If your driving becomes sloppy, your thoughts start to wander and you can't stop yawning, then you are too tired to drive. Pull over when it's safe to do so. If someone else who is more alert can drive, have that person take over the wheel.
Source: SmartMotorist.com, "Drowsy Driving and Traffic Safety"