How to Avoid Drowsy Driving

Drowsy driving kills hundreds of people every year in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Although we often think we can simply “power through” the drive after a poor night of sleep, doing so is actually quite dangerous. Just consider the ways it affects your ability to operate a motor vehicle:

  •         Increases the chance that you will fall asleep behind the wheel
  •        Affects the clarity and sharpness of your vision
  •         Affects the sharpness of your mind and concentration
  •         Impedes hand-eye coordination
  •         Lengthens reaction time
  •         Impairs judgement

If you are yawning a lot, nodding off, drifting over lane markings and rumble strips, or otherwise showing signs of drowsiness, it’s likely a good idea to get off the road to safety. Trying to white-knuckle your way through the fatigue could end in tragedy. It takes only a moment of inattention or dozing off to get in a motor vehicle crash.

Here are some ways to avoid drowsy driving:

  •   Practice good sleep hygiene: Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Don’t drink caffeine after noon. Don’t watch TV or use screens in the hours before bedtime. Make sure your bedroom is dark and comfortable
  • Avoid driving late at night if at all possible
  • Don’t drink alcohol before driving
  • Have at least two drivers for extended trips
  • Check prescription medication for side effects

A restful night of sleep, at least 7-9 hours, is the best way to prevent drowsy driving. It’s also important to remember that things like blasting the radio or rolling the window down for air are not enough to mitigate the risks of drowsiness. Getting sleep is the only answer, so it’s important to make sure you have lodging on a long trip, or to reschedule your drive if you know you’re too tired.

If you are injured in a car crash caused by someone else’s negligence, then you may be entitled to pursue compensation in an accident claim handled by an experienced lawyer. Please search our directory for a lawyer in your area.