Drowsy driving is one of the most understated dangers on the road. A study conducted by the American Automobile Association found that 30% of drivers admitted to drowsy driving within the past 30 days. 20% of these drivers admitted to doing it more than once.
Drowsy driving isn’t just irresponsible – it is extremely dangerous. An estimated one in six fatal car accidents involves a drowsy driver. Here are eight tips to help you stay alert and alive behind the wheel:
- Get plenty of sleep.
If you know you have a long drive coming up, make sure you are well rested for it. Get 8-9 hours of sleep the night before, and take a nap prior to departing if you feel the need.
- Take a pit stop every two hours.
Pull off at a rest stop every ~100 miles to get some fresh air, stretch your legs, and grab a snack.
- Drink a caffeinated beverage.
It’s no secret that coffee and energy drinks help keep you awake and alert. It takes approximately 30 minutes for caffeine to enter the bloodstream, so plan accordingly.
- Drive with the windows open.
If you catch yourself yawning, or you start to find it difficult to pay attention to the road, try cracking your windows. The cool, fresh air can stimulate your senses and help keep you awake.
- Pull over if you feel tired.
Know the warning signs of drowsy driving and pull over immediately if you have trouble keeping your eyes open or staying in your lane. A half-hour nap might delay your trip, but it’s better to arrive at your destination alive.
- Avoid driving at night.
Your body is hardwired to induce feelings of drowsiness between the hours of midnight and 6AM. If possible, avoid driving during this time.
- Don’t travel alone.
The buddy system is a great way to avoid drowsy driving. Your passenger can help keep you awake, and take a turn driving while you nap if necessary.
- Avoid medications that cause drowsiness.
Many medications – both prescription and over the counter – cause drowsiness as a side effect. Make sure not to take any of them before driving.
Have you been badly injured in a car accident at the hands of a drowsy driver? A good personal injury attorney could be the difference between recovering the compensation you deserve, or being left in a mountain of medical debt. If you live in North Carolina or South Carolina, call the lawyers at Stewart Law Offices, LLC for a free consultation at (888) 286-5600.