Driver fatigue causes a shockingly high number of vehicular collisions each year. Fatigue occurs when mental or physical exertion literally impairs your performance. Driver fatigue can be due to a number of factors, such as lack of sleep, extended work hours, strenuous work or non-work activities. A study called the Large Truck Crash Causation Study reported that as high as thirteen percent of Commercial Motor Vehicle drivers were fatigued at the time of their respective collisions.
According to the National Safety Council, 37% of drivers surveyed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at some point. 8% admitted doing so in the past 6 months. 60% admitted falling asleep while driving on an interstate with posted speeds of 55 MPH or higher. The drivers with the highest risks are third shift workers, people that drive a substantial number of miles each day, those with unrecognized sleep disorders, and those prescribed medication with sedatives.
But realistically, driving with fatigue happens to almost all drivers! To be prepared, know the symptoms and follow the tips below to avoid being involved in a traumatic collision caused by driver fatigue.
Symptoms of Fatigue:
- Eyes going out of focus
- Persistent Yawning
- Wandering or disconnected thoughts
- Inability to remember driving the last few miles
- Drifting between lanes
- Abnormal speed, tailgating
- Back Tension, burning eyes, shallow breathing
Here are some tips that help you stay healthy and well rested during all your driving trips;
- Get enough sleep: Try not to drive while your body is naturally drowsy, between midnight and six a.m. or between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Drowsiness impairs a response time to potential hazards.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Going to bed with an empty stomach or immediately after a heavy meal can interfere with sleep. A light snack before bed may help you obtain a more restful sleep. Otherwise, you could end up driving with a slower reaction time, or reduced attention on the road.
- Take a nap: Short naps are more effective at restoring energy levels than coffee. Naps aimed at preventing drowsiness are generally more effective in maintaining a driver’s performance than naps taken when a person is already drowsy. Naps should last a minimum of 10 minutes but ideally should last up to 45 minutes. Allow at least 15 minutes after waking to fully recover before you drive.
- Avoid drowsiness inducing medications: Some of the most common medicines that make you drowsy include tranquilizers, allergy medicines, and cold medicines. Over the counter drug use contributes to several vehicular crashes annually in the U.S.
- Don’t Rely on Tricks: Many people think, drinking coffee, smoking, turning up the radio, or opening a car window can help them stay alert. These are not real cures for drowsiness and give false senses of security. Also, ingesting too much caffeine can cause headaches, insomnia, irritability, and nervousness. Any of these can lead to a collision.
- Share the driver’s seat: Share the driving responsibilities with a companion to avoid drowsiness
- Exercise: On a long trip, stop every 100 miles to get out of the car and walk around, because exercise helps to fight fatigue.
Look out for the symptoms of fatigue and follow the above steps. You could save a life. Make a conscious effort to maximize your alertness throughout the day and especially on the roads. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle or car crash, contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today to get the effective and diligent representation that you deserve. Call us at 727-451-6900.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765