Have you ever sat behind the wheel of your car while you were feeling a bit too tired to drive? According to a recent report from AutoBlog.com, millions of Americans engage in this risky behavior every day.
A drowsy driving study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (as cited by the AutoBlog report) determined that approximately 84 million people in the U.S. drive while they are fatigued each day.
You might not think that drowsy driving, or fatigued driving, is as dangerous as other risky driving behaviors such as driving under the influence of alcohol or distracted driving. However, a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) actually found that “driving tired can be as dangerous as driving drunk.”
In short, driving while drowsy can lead to serious car accidents. As AutoBlog notes, around 50 percent of drowsy drivers who are involved in car accidents are ages 25 and younger.
How Can You Prevent Drowsy Driving in Harrisonburg?
As the AutoBlog report notes, teenagers should always get between eight and 10 hours of sleep each night, which can help to avoid a drowsy driving crash. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep in order to function properly behind the wheel.
In addition to making sure that you and your teen driver get enough sleep before driving, The National Sleep Foundation recommends that you do the following:
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. If you are taking a vacation with friends or family, do not feel as though you need to drive all night or drive without breaks in order to get to where you are going. Be sure to stop for sleep. Pull over to take a break if you feel tired.
- Be with company if you are going to drive for a long distance. As with swimming, long-distance driving is safest when you use the buddy system. Your passenger can help to keep you awake and can notice signs of fatigue.
- Avoid sleep-inducing substances. Never drive if you have been drinking alcohol or if you are using any medications that cause drowsiness.
- Drive during daytime and early evening hours. Do not drive at times of the day when you typically would be sleeping.
- Take a break at least every two hours or every 100 miles – whichever comes first. While you take a break, you should stop for a quick snack or take a walk.
- Stop to take a nap if you feel too fatigued to continue driving. Once you find a safe place to park, plan to nap for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Consume enough caffeine while you are driving. Whether it is coffee or another beverage, caffeine can help to keep you alert. However, caffeine is never a substitute for getting rest. Also, if you drink too much caffeine, it may make you jittery and lead to other safety issues.
Impacted by Drowsy Driving? Contact the Injury Attorneys in Charlottesville
It is important to know what steps to take after a traffic collision. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a traffic crash caused by a suspected drowsy driver in Charlottesville or elsewhere in Virginia, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. Allow an experienced car accident attorney to assist you.