Move over drunk drivers, drowsy drivers can be almost, if not just as deadly but don’t just take our word for it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving claimed a total of 795 lives in 2017.
In today’s hectic world, too many Americans are losing sleep. Whether they’re working full time and getting up with a baby, handling sick kids all night then driving to work in the morning, working late into the night to finish that project at work, struggling with insomnia, or anxiety that keeps them up at night – sleep deprivation is all too common.
We Can Prevent Falling Asleep at the Wheel
People fall asleep at the wheel every day and it can be very scary. In reality, though, there are things that we can do to prevent that from happening. For starters, we need to realize the scope of the problem and understand that fatigue not only affects our health and our mood, but it affects our safety and overall quality of life.
Common causes of fatigue include:
- Waking up with a baby every couple of hours
- Working the night shift at work
- Staying up late watching TV
- Staying out late with friends
- Taking a long drive that lasts for hours
- Having insomnia
- Having a racing mind that won’t shut off
No matter the reason behind fatigue, the negative outcomes are typically the same. When someone is driving while fatigued, they can have a delayed reaction time, impaired performance, impaired cognition, and they can ultimately fall asleep at the wheel.
It can be difficult for motorists to tackle these above issues when they don’t place importance on drowsy driving. A lot of people won’t think twice to drive after not sleeping in 24 hours. To effectively address the issue of drowsy driving, motorists have to shift their focus to getting more sleep to keep themselves and other motorists safe.
Stay Alert Behind the Wheel
Tips to stay alert while driving:
- The first approach is to focus on getting more quality sleep, which is 7 to 8 hours each night.
- Before you take a long road trip, get a good night’s sleep. Otherwise, you put your passengers and other motorists at risk.
- Avoid driving through the night. Instead, rent a motel or hotel room for the night so you get adequate sleep.
- If you have a teenager, realize that many teens stay up late and don’t get enough sleep. Don’t let your teen hit the road if they’re clearly unrested and sleep-deprived.
- Do not drink alcohol before driving. Alcohol only enhances the feelings of sleepiness since it’s a sedative.
- Avoid driving on any prescription or over-the-counter medications that cause drowsiness or sleepiness.
- Try to avoid driving during the peak sleepiness periods, which according to the NHTSA are from 12 AM-6 AM.
- If you get sleepy, drink one to two cups of coffee or have an energy drink and pull over for a 20-minute nap. This NHTSA says that studies have found this practice to help increase alertness.
We hope you found this information about drowsy driving useful. If you were in an accident with a driver who fell asleep at the wheel, please contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to file a claim for compensation.