What can (and cannot) prevent drowsy driving?

Did you know that driving while drowsy can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated? Despite this fact, reports estimate than roughly 33 percent of drivers have driven when they were extremely tired in the previous month.

Unfortunately, drowsy driving is more common than it should be. However, every driver can take steps to avoid the risks of driving while sleepy.

What can prevent drowsiness behind the wheel

To reduce the risk of causing an accident because you are too tired, you can take the following precautions:

  • Get adequate sleep before driving
  • Refrain from driving for at least eight hours after taking a sleep aid or other medication that causes drowsiness
  • Plan ahead if you are taking a long drive. Map out rest spots and avoid driving for unnecessarily long stretches without a break.
  • Drive with a friend.
  • Call someone else for a ride.
  • Stop for coffee if you feel tired, and wait about 15 minutes for it to start working

What won’t work

Misconceptions about drowsy driving can lead to ineffective measures to combat fatigue and improve a person’s driving. As such, the following remedies are unlikely to make any or any significant impact on a fatigued driver:

  • Rolling the windows down or turning up the air conditioning
  • Listening to loud music
  • Drinking soda or tea with very low caffeine levels
  • Taking unsafe or illegal stimulants
  • Consuming sugary snacks
  • Assuming you can “drive through” the fatigue

Because these methods don’t help you get the rest your body needs, they are unlikely to have a meaningful impact on your drowsiness.

If you find yourself driving while drowsy, it is advisable that you stop and take a break. This could mean taking a 20-minute nap, stopping to stretch and get your muscles moving or eating a nutritious meal.

Unfortunately, many people will not make a concerted effort to avoid drowsy driving, either because they don’t recognize the signs or they don’t recognize the risks. As such, drowsy driving accidents can and will still happen. In such situations, victims and their families may want to examine their legal options for pursuing compensation for damages.

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