Millions of people across the United States get behind the wheel of a car on a daily basis. Driving is such a normal function for most of us that it becomes routine, but however routine driving may feel, you never want to be sleepy when behind the wheel. Driving while you’re feeling fatigued can lead to serious injuries and even death.
The good news is that prevention of driving while exhausted doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to achieve. Simply follow these tips, and you’ll lessen your chances of falling asleep at the wheel:
Get More Sleep
This seems like a no-brainer, yet millions of Americans don’t get enough sleep because they’re trying to squeeze in as much professional and personal time as possible. If you find yourself getting drowsy behind the wheel, even on the morning drive to work or school, the easiest solution may be to add an hour or more to your daily sleeping regimen.
Sleep Well Before a Trip
Road trips might be a blast, but they’re also exhausting due to how many hours are spent behind the wheel on a continuous basis. While you may have a lot of prep to do the night before a big trip, it is imperative that you get a good night’s sleep to reduce the chance of getting tired between your planned destinations. If you get tired during the trip, alternating drivers is much better than risking falling asleep at the wheel. If you can’t alternate drivers, there are plenty of places where you can pull over and get enough rest to continue your journey safely. Truck stops always have multiple vehicles in their parking lot with shades on the windshield and windows.
No Alcohol Prior to Driving
Avoiding driving while under the influence is a no-brainer. However, many drivers feel they are making the “safe” choice by waiting hours after ingesting alcohol before driving, so that the alcohol is out of their system. The problem is that alcohol also increases fatigue, and that feeling isn’t going away until after you get some needed sleep.
Don’t Drive While Taking Certain Medications
The warning labels on medications may be annoyingly wordy, but they exist for a reason. Certain medications are strong enough that they will impair your ability to drive by adding to your fatigue. Even though you may feel fine while not engaged in activities that require as much attention as driving, the fatigue and delayed reaction time caused by certain medication may not be evident until you’re driving.
Avoid Driving at Night
Late-night driving can make you drowsy not only because of the specific time of day (our bodies’ naturally want to be asleep late at night) but because streetlights and headlights can bother your eyes after a while. If you are susceptible to these things, it’s best to avoid driving between the hours of Midnight and 6 a.m.
Grab Some Caffeine
While normal rest is the preferred method to avoid driving while exhausted, there are times when your only option is to give yourself a jolt of caffeine. This can be achieved via energy drinks, coffee, soda, or even a caffeine pill. However, this is only to be used as a temporary solution – half an hour or so, tops.
If you’ve been in an auto accident stemming from another driver falling asleep at the wheel, or any other reason, you’ll need a seasoned lawyer willing to fight for your rights. Reach out to the attorneys at Mintz Law Firm to get a free case evaluation today.