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Why does driving make you tired?

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Driving can make you tired, but the question is why? Depending on the time of day, how much sleep you got the night before, and numerous other factors, it's no surprise that this type of driving contributes to numerous car accidents. The NHTSA report that at least 633 deaths due to a car accident were caused by drowsy driving.

The Science behind why driving makes you tired

According to research, there are a multitude of reasons that people get tired while driving. In fact, there is a science behind why we feel that way. Here are a few common reasons we get tired while driving.

The monotony of the task and our attention spans

One of the primary reasons why driving makes you tired is how monotonous the task is. When you drive on the same road for an extended period of time with no turns or changes, it can become an easy point of distraction. As our accident attorneys have stated, distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents.

That is why it is no surprise that when our mind starts to wander due to the monotony of driving that we become less attentive and our reflexes are not as fast. The inability to focus on the task at hand becomes a point in which a car accident can happen.

In fact, the NHTSA estimates that in 2017, at least 91,000 accidents, according to the police reports, involved drowsy drivers. These car crashes ranged from minor collisions to ones that caused serious injury.

The lack of physical activity

Since driving is a sedentary activity, it doesn't require much physical exertion. Sitting in the same position for an extended period of time can cause stiffness in the body. This lack of movement can reduce blood flow and lead to a decrease in oxygen levels. When our bodies lack the right level of oxygen, they become tired and in need of regeneration.

That is why it's good to try to change positions in your seat or bob your head to the music on the radio. Even the slightest movements can ensure that your body is getting the oxygen it needs to help you stay awake and not cause a car crash.

Mental Stress

Driving can also be mentally stressful, especially when driving in heavy traffic or challenging weather conditions. The added stress can cause mental fatigue, leading to feelings of tiredness.

It is always important that if you are not feeling right or are upset about something to pull over and recollect your thoughts. Then, once you've done that, you can focus properly on your driving task and not allow other stresses to get in the way.

Poor Sleep

Another factor that contributes to fatigue while driving is poor sleep. If you haven't had enough sleep, even a short drive can make you feel tired and drained. Sleep deprivation can also affect your cognitive abilities, including your attention span, making it more difficult to stay focused on the road.

These factors, along with sleep disorders, can contribute to your inability to get the right amount of sleep. If you have noticed that you have difficulty to fall asleep, you may want to speak to a doctor because you could be dealing with an untreated sleep disorder. Some of these disorders include:

  • Obstructive Sleep apnea: This occurs when the muscles in your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing.

  • Insomnia: This is simply defined as habitual sleeplessness. In this case you have trouble falling and staying asleep.

  • Narcolepsy: This is a condition characterized by an extreme tendency to fall asleep whenever in relaxing surroundings

  • Etc.


Dehydration is another common factor that contributes to fatigue while driving. Not drinking enough water during the drive can cause dehydration and lead to feelings of tiredness and a lack of energy.

Symptoms Of Drowsy-Driving That Leads To Car Accidents

Drowsy driving is a major cause of car accidents worldwide. Driving while tired as we have previously leads to slower reaction times and sometimes causes drivers to fall asleep at the wheel. This level of sleep deprivation is extremely dangerous and may lead to accidents.

Here are some symptoms of drowsy driving that you should be aware of:

  1. Yawning and blinking frequently: If you find yourself yawning and blinking frequently while driving your body is definitely trying to tell you it is in need of sleep. If you are suffering from sleep deprivation, it is always a smarter idea to find a new way to get yourself from point a to point b.

  2. Difficulty focusing: As we have said keeping your attention on the road can be difficult when you are extremely tired. That is why good quality sleep is so important.

  3. Drifting out of your lane: If you are not able to stay in your lane or keep your car centered, you are clearly no longer paying attention. It is better to pull over somewhere take a break and then make the needed adjustments to continue driving.

  4. Slowed reaction time: When you are tired you are not able to respond as quickly to changes on the road.

  5. Trouble remembering the last few miles driven: If you cannot remember driving the last few miles, it is a sign that you are not fully alert.

  6. Feeling restless or irritable: When you are tired, you may feel restless or irritable. This can affect your ability to concentrate on the road.

  7. Nodding off or falling asleep: If you find yourself nodding off or starting to fall asleep while driving, it is a clear sign that you are too tired to be behind the wheel.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to take a break and rest before continuing your journey. Remember that drowsy driving is a serious issue and can lead to dangerous accidents. Always prioritize your safety and the safety of others on the road.

Tips For Avoiding Car Accidents Caused By Drowsy-Driving

As car accident lawyers, we believe it is very important for drivers to learn auto accident prevention techniques against driver fatigue, for it may save lives:

  1. Get enough sleep: One of the best ways to avoid feeling tired on the road make sure you get enough sleep before driving. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

  2. Take breaks: If you are on a long trip, take frequent breaks to rest and stretch your legs. This can help you stay alert and avoid drowsy driving.

  3. Avoid driving during your body's natural sleep time: Many people feel drowsy during their body's natural sleep time, this because you are messing with your natural body clock. That is why those late nights or early morning drives makes you tired, and like anything else in life you will have to pay your sleep debt.

  4. Don't rely on caffeine or other stimulants: While caffeine and other stimulants can help you feel more alert, they are not a substitute for sleep. A lot of truck drivers experience this and it leads to numerous deadly drowsy driving crashes. That is why a lot of trucking companies have a system of those who work the night shift not working for a period of time after.

  5. Share the driving: If you are on a long trip, consider sharing the driving with someone else. This can help you both stay alert and avoid a drowsy driving accident.

  6. Pull over if you feel drowsy: If you start to feel drowsy while driving, pull over to a safe location and take a nap or walk around to stretch your legs. If you have the time before you arrive wherever you are going try to take a short nap. It is better to arrive at your destination late than to risk drowsy driving accidents.

  7. Recognize the signs of drowsy driving: Be aware of the symptoms of drowsy driving. If you experience any of these symptoms, take a break or switch drivers if possible.

What if a drowsy driver caused my car accident?

If you have been in a car accident caused by a drowsy driver, you may wonder what your options are.

Firstly, it's important to seek medical attention for any injuries sustained in the accident, and then consider legal action if necessary. The driver who caused the accident may be liable for damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

To prove liability, you'll need to demonstrate that the driver was drowsy and that their drowsiness was the direct cause of the accident. This can be challenging, as there are often no obvious signs of drowsy driving. However, there are several ways to gather evidence, such as eyewitness accounts, police reports, and video footage if available. You may also consider consulting with a personal injury lawyer, who can help you build a strong case.

Call Our Lawyers If You've Been Injured From Car Accidents Caused By Drowsy-Driving

Car accidents caused by drowsy driving can have severe consequences, including injuries, property damage, and even fatalities. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drowsy driver, it's essential to seek legal representation from experienced personal injury lawyers.

Our team of lawyers specializes in representing victims of car accidents. We understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that these accidents can have on individuals and their families. Our goal is to help our clients obtain the compensation they deserve and hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.

To prove liability, we will investigate the accident thoroughly, gathering evidence such as eyewitness accounts, police reports, and medical records. We will work tirelessly to build a strong case and negotiate with insurance companies on behalf of our clients. If necessary, we will also litigate the case in court.

We understand that every case is unique, and we treat each of our clients with the utmost care and compassion. We will provide you with personalized attention and keep you informed throughout the legal process. Our team of lawyers has a track record of success in representing victims of car accidents caused by drowsy driving, and we are confident that we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

If you've been injured in a car accident caused by drowsy driving, don't hesitate to call Demesmin and Dover Law Firm. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and determine the best course of action. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don't pay us anything unless we win your case. Let us help you get the justice you deserve. so call today at 866-954-MORE (6673).

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