It happens all too often. A driver is cruising down the road, completely confident about making it the last 30 miles to his destination before taking a break. Suddenly, he is waking up to the car spinning or hitting something and causing an accident. In the best situations, a harsh lesson is learned and all parties walk away uninjured, but the scary fact is that too often drowsy driving results in fatal accidents that affect the lives of others on the road. To avoid serious injury and fatal accidents, all drivers must do their part to combat drowsy driving and stay awake behind the wheel, and the following tips can save lives.
Watch for signs you are too tired to drive
There are times when you can use tricks to keep you awake, and others where it is just time to remove yourself from the road. It’s time to pull over if:
- Your eyelids are heavy, you have a hard time focusing or you are frequently blinking
- You cannot remember the last few minutes of driving or previous traffic signs you have passed
- You have a hard time keeping your head up
- You feel irritable or restless
- You rub your eyes or yawn repeatedly
- You are tailgating, hitting the rumble strip or drifting from lane to lane
- You have disconnected, wandering thoughts
These are clear signs that you are in no position to be on the road.
Take the appropriate steps before you leave
Before you get behind the wheel of a car for a long trip, you should have at least seven hours of sleep if you are an adult, and eight if you are a teenager. Stick to a sleep schedule to ensure that you are not tired during the day while you are driving. Speak to your doctor about any sleep disorders you deal with that could affect your driving, and never taking medications or drink alcohol that will make you sleepy while you are on the road.
If possible, avoid driving between midnight and six a.m., take a nap before driving or pull over and take a nap mid-drive if you are fighting drowsiness symptoms. Take a partner on long road trips where you fear drowsiness, and if you must, drink caffeine to stay awake behind the wheel.
When others drive drowsy
Even if you are a responsible, alert driver, there are others on the road who may not be playing by the same rules. If you have been injured in an accident that involved a drowsy or distracted driver and require medical treatment, you should speak to an attorney to receive answers for any questions you may have.