I recently got my first speeding ticket ever and am currently taking a driving course that taught me something new. We all know that being sleepy at the wheel is dangerous, but I think so many people are chronically tired these days that we push through and ignore this topic.

While we may think we can drive sleepy, there is such a thing called microsleep, where you can fall asleep for a few moments without realizing it, while driving. Here are signs that you are about to probably fall asleep (provided by the driving safety course):

  • Discomfort – heavy arms and legs
  • Tense muscles
  • Heavy eyes
  • Constant yawning
  • Leaning forward while driving
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Your eyes closing
  • Trouble keeping your head up
  • Wandering, disconnected thoughts
  • Distraction
  • Not remembering driving the last few miles
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Tailgating
  • Missing traffic signs
  • Hearing the noise of rumble strips or lane markings
  • Jerking the vehicle
  • Drifting off the road

Signs I found interesting in this list were tense muscles, leaning forward while driving, and wandering/disconnected thoughts. These signs can show up in other types of health problems, such as yeast or bacterial overgrowth in the digestive tract, which can cause chronic digestive problems. This type of indigestion can also make one chronically tired.

Stress can also provoke digestive problems and fatigue. And digestive problems and fatigue lower your tolerance to stress. As you can see, they all feed on each other.

I also found ‘not remembering driving the last few miles’ interesting as a sign that you are about to fall asleep versus being a sign that you already fell asleep. That means that before you fall asleep, your mental capabilities are already starting to shut down.

The driving course also stated how different levels of sleepiness equate to how depressed your functioning is when having different levels of alcohol in your system.

Additionally, when you are tired, your eye muscles become tired and your peripheral vision starts to diminish, which is something important for you to see things coming out of the corner of your eye, such as someone about to pass in front of you.

Chronic fatigue is a common reason people see a naturopathic or holistic doctor. If you are experiencing this, do not dismiss it and think it is just something you have to ‘deal with.’ There are natural solutions available.

From a driving perspective, chronic fatigue is dangerous. If not for yourself, address it for the sake of everyone’s safety on the road, and their loved ones.