Home > Blog > Drowsy Driving Prevention & Safety Tips

Drowsy Driving Prevention & Safety Tips

Posted by:

As the holidays approach, many people find themselves making due on less sleep due to increased demands.  Shopping, traveling, gatherings, end of year work and other events pop up at this time of year.  Tiredness and fatigue can often affect your driving ability long before you even notice you’re getting tired and increase your risk of being involved in a crash.  

Those most likely to drive while drowsy or fatigued are commercial truck drivers; late-night shift workers; parents taking care of young children; people with untreated sleep disorders; and young drivers, especially men under the age of 26. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. Furthermore, studies have shown that drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Like alcohol and drugs, sleepiness and fatigue can impair drivers by causing slower reaction times, vision impairment, judgement impairment, and delays in processing information. Consider this: If you are traveling at 65 mph and fall asleep behind the wheel, even for a few seconds, you could drive the length of a football field in an unconscious state.

Sleep is not a luxury; a good night’s sleep should be a regular part of one’s daily routine. Have you ever driven drowsy? Here are a few warnings signs that all drivers need to be aware of, as well as tips to avoid falling asleep behind the wheel.

Warning signs of sleepiness include:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking and/or heavy eyelids
  • Difficulty keeping your head up
  • Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating, and/or hitting rumble strips
  • Inability to clearly remember the last few miles driven
  • Missing traffic signs or driving past your intended exit
  • Yawning repeatedly and rubbing your eyes
  • Feeling irritable or restless

Tips to remain alert and avoid falling asleep behind the wheel:

  • Get enough sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours and most teens need 8.5-9.5 hours per night to maintain proper alertness during the day.
  • Learn how to recognize sleep problems. Problems sleeping or daytime sleepiness can signal a sleep disorder or another medical condition. Talk to your doctor.
  • Avoid rushing to arrive at your destination; allow the time to drive alert and arrive alive.
  • Avoid driving alone for long distances. Share the driving with a companion and schedule breaks – approximately every 100 miles or 2 hours.
  • Take a nap. Find a safe place to take a 15 to 20-minute nap if you think you might fall asleep.
  • Avoid alcohol and medications that cause drowsiness.
  • Consume caffeine. Two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours.

If you or a loved one is involved in an accident, contact our offices immediately.  With over 40 years of legal exprience, we have helped 1000's of area residents get the justice they deserve.  Our attorneys work directly with you on your case from beginning to end.    For a free consulation and additional info, contact us today!