Written on Nov 13, 2017 9:20:29 AM
How to Avoid Drowsy Driving While Traveling This Holiday Season
You likely spend more time on the road during the holidays, traveling to and from the homes of your friends and family, festive events, shopping centers, and work. With all the excitement during the holidays, sleep may be your last priority.
But, when you are on the road and feeling drowsy, it can increase your chance of getting into an auto accident.
Protect yourself, your family, and others on the road by learning more about the dangers of drowsy driving and how to prevent driver fatigue.
How Dangerous Is Drowsy Driving?
Being tired or drowsy causes your thought processes to slow down, which leads to driving problems such as difficulty focusing, decreased reaction times, impaired vision and judgment, or falling asleep at the wheel.
In fact, drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Operating a motor vehicle while drowsy is a form of driver inattention that can have serious or fatal consequences, putting your passengers and other drivers on the road at an increased risk of injury or death.
Drowsy Driving vs. Drunk Driving: How Do They Compare?
A 2016 report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers who got only four or five hours of slumber were estimated to experience four times the crash rate. This is similar to crash rates among drunk drivers in the U.S. who drive while at or slightly above the legal blood alcohol limit.
This means you should take extreme caution before driving while drowsy because being sleep-deprived can have effects on your body that are similar to drinking alcohol.
Both drunk driving and drowsy driving make it difficult for drivers to keep their attention on the road and can have a negative impact on reaction times. However, drowsy driving can cause you to nod off while driving fast, which means you may not always slow down or brake if something is happening in front of you.
Causes of Drowsy Driving
Two primary causes of drowsy driving include:
- A lack of adequate, quality sleep
- Driving at times when you would normally be sleeping
Commercial truck drivers, graveyard shift workers, and people with undiagnosed or untreated disorders, such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy, are at an increased risk for crashes that result from drowsy driving.
How To Prevent Drowsy Driving
Here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent drowsy driving this holiday season:
1. Get Adequate Sleep Before Driving.
Although drinking a cup of coffee may help you temporarily stay alert, it is no substitute for a good night’s sleep. If you have been awake for more than 24 hours, driving is not safe for you or anyone else on the road.
2. Don’t Drink Alcohol or Eat a Heavy Neal Before Driving Long Distances.
Large meals with foods made of starches and delicious meats sure are tempting, but they also cause drowsiness. If you're still hungry after your first plate of food, take a second plate home for leftovers that you can enjoy after your drive.
Skip a glass of wine or any other alcoholic beverages – even a small amount of alcohol can make you drowsy enough to fall asleep behind the wheel.
3. On Long Trips, Take a Break Every 100 Miles or Every Two Tours.
Get out of your car and walk around to get your blood flowing and get some fresh air. This can be the refresher you need to gain an adequate amount of energy to stay awake on your journey.
4. Pull Over and Find a Safe, Well-Lit Place to Rest if You're Feeling Tired.
A 20-minute power nap can give you the energy you need to make it home safely.
5. Use the “Buddy System” to Switch Drivers as Needed.
A general rule for long-distance driving is to drive no more than 8 to 10 hours per day. If you're getting close to the 8-hour mark on a drive, it's best to switch drivers to reduce your risk of driving while drowsy.
6. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Reach Your Destination.
Mishaps and re-routes happen on trips. Give yourself time to get where you need to go so you don't have to push yourself to drive further if you are tired.
7. Avoid Driving After Taking Medications That Cause Drowsiness.
Always read the warning labels on both prescription and over-the-counter medicines.
Everyone wants to safely reach their destinations this holiday season. Your safe driving habits can increase your likelihood that you and others on the road with you will enjoy a safe and joyful holiday season with family and friends.
Have You Been Injured in An Auto Accident Due to Driver Fatigue? Lowman Can Help.
We want to help you get the compensatory damages you deserve for the injury or loss of a loved one you experienced due to driver fatigue.
Our experienced personal injury attorneys will assess your case and help you to determine the best course of action to get you the right amount of compensation. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Lowman Law Firm in Citrus County at 352-888-4484 or toll-free at 866-9-LOWMAN.