Tiredness can be as bad for your driving performance as drinking or taking drugs.
One report suggests that 18 hours without sleep puts you at a similar driving ability to someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%, while an entire day without sleep equates to 0.10% BAC.
As with alcohol and drugs, even low levels of tiredness impair your concentration, decision making and reaction time.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver fatigue plays a role in around 100,000 crashes, 50,000 injuries and 800 deaths each year. Yet, people do not treat it with the seriousness it deserves, perhaps because feeling tired happens to everyone at some point in every day.
Ever since school, you have been taught that you need to push on through it
If you fell asleep in class, you would have gotten in trouble with the teacher. If you fall asleep at work, you might lose your job.
Hence many people continue driving when tired, stifling their yawns, or staring hard at the road to prevent their eyes from closing. Doing so puts them and others at risk of injury or death.
What about opening the window, drinking coffee or speeding up the music?
Those things can help you stave off tiredness momentarily but do not alter the fact that you need rest. The best thing you can do is pull over somewhere safe and take a nap. Or, if you have someone else with you who can drive, ask them to take the wheel.
If a tired driver crashes into you, they may claim they did not have time to stop. Yet by continuing until the point that they caused an accident, they waste far more of your time and theirs. Seek legal help to claim compensation if they injured you in the process.