A recent report showing that fatigue led to a fatal commercial bus crash last year has police, safety experts and state legislators taking another look at the issue of fatigue behind the wheel.

Defensive drivers know that fatigue is the enemy that sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Drivers slowly become more tired, gradually slipping closer and closer to a sleep state until, through no direct fault of their own, just drift off to sleep. The fact that they do this behind the wheel is where the problems happen.

When you drive unsafe, fatigued let’s say, you are not only endangering your own life but the life of everyone sharing the road with you that day. You might not even be aware that you are risking all these lives because when you get fatigued you simply do not think as clearly as you do when you are well rested.

Long haul truck drivers are required to sleep a specified number of hours each night so that they are well rested each day. They are also required to drive only a set number of hours each day so that they do not become exhausted or fatigued behind the wheel of their Big Rig.

Fatigue is the silent killer, and unlike distracted driving which obvious to police passing by, or even driving under the influence of alcohol, which is also often obvious, it is difficult if not impossible to detect a fatigued driver until after they have already caused a serious traffic collision.

The best idea for all drivers is to make certain they are adequately rested before getting behind the wheel. The idea of “driving straight through” to make good time on a long trip is antiquated at best, and downright dangerous at worst. Be a safe driver for yourself and everyone on the roads with you. Get some sleep before you drive.