While campaigns against drunk driving and distracted driving get a lot of media focus, there is very little awareness about the consequences of driving while exhausted. Texas habitually leads the nation in many bad driving habits, including, unfortunately, drowsy driving. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatigued drivers are annually responsible for nearly 1,000 deaths and 3,000 accidents.
Common symptoms of driving fatigue include:
- Difficulty focusing
- Feeling restless
- Missing exits
- Drifting between lanes
- Frequent blinking
There are certain steps you can take to protect yourself and others while on the road. If you ever find yourself suffering from driving fatigue, follow these steps to ensure public safety.
Tip #1: Get Enough Sleep
Ideally, you should get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. This not only improves your driving ability, but also increases your overall daily productivity. Granted, getting the optimum hours of sleep each night may be difficult depending on your personal work and school schedule. Sometimes, experimenting with your sleep pattern can help you discover what works best for your individual situation. However, these experiments should be incremental. An immediate shock to your body can also lead to driving fatigue.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, accidents commonly occur when drivers:
- Sleep for less than 4 hours
- Sleep less hours than normal
- Change their sleep schedule
Tip #2: Take Naps
Sometimes, a nap can help if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. In fact, studies have proven that taking a nap before a long-distance drive gives your body the vital rest it needs. Taking a nap in the middle of a drive doesn’t hurt, either—so long as you pull over before falling asleep. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of driving fatigue, a quick 20-30-minute nap may protect you from a dangerous accident or a collision.
Tip #3: be Careful What You Eat
What you consume has a significant impact on your body and overall level of fatigue. For instance, it’s best to avoid sugary or fatty foods that may exacerbate your drowsy symptoms. It’s also important to stay hydrated during the day and drink lots of water. While caffeinated drinks like coffee and soda can supply short bursts of energy, the subsequent crash may leave you more exhausted in the long run.
Schedule a Free Consultation
Practicing safe driving habits includes acknowledging when your body isn’t in a condition to drive. Unfortunately, many people take chances that lead to tragic accidents and collisions. If you’ve been injured in a traffic collision due to the fatigue and negligence of another driver, contact The Stewart Law firm, PLLC. Our Austin car accident attorneys can help you file a claim and pursue justice and compensation.
Contact The Stewart Law firm, PLLC at (512) 271-5112 for 24/7 legal guidance.