Not getting adequate sleep is a common complaint. It can impact many areas of a person’s life, but one that many don’t consider is how it can affect driving ability. Driving while drowsy is very dangerous and could lead to an accident.
Here are some ways to keep alert and awake while behind the wheel:
- Get enough sleep. Getting about seven or eight hours of sleep each night can prevent fatigue the next day. An Australian study found that getting less than six hours of sleep increased teens’ risk of crashing. A good night’s rest is especially important when taking a long trip.
- Switch off driving. If driving with someone else on a long commute or trip, switch off with another driver regularly to avoid fatigue.
- Take breaks. Don’t let time constraints stand in the way of taking a break every couple of hours or whenever feeling fatigued. Driving straight through the night isn’t usually a good idea. If necessary, pull off to a spot where you can take a nap, like a designated rest area.
- Avoid heavy meals. Heavy foods/meals can increase tiredness. Stick to foods that will improve concentration and alertness, such as eating a well-balanced breakfast.
- Drink a caffeinated beverage. Safely consuming a caffeinated beverage can be a short-term boost, though you shouldn’t rely on it to keep you alert for a long drive.
- Read label on medications. Certain medicines can cause drowsiness. Always read the warning labels before taking a medication and getting behind the wheel.
- Know the signs of drowsy driving. It’s important to recognize signs of fatigue. Daydreaming, wandering thoughts, frequent yawning, missing exits or signs, drifting onto the shoulder or into another lane are just some examples. Don’t ignore these signs.
If you’re in an accident because of a fatigued driver, you can pursue legal action against that party by filing an insurance claim and/or lawsuit. Gacovino, Lake & Associates can help accident victims explore their options. Contact us at 800-550-0000.