Driving is something that so many of us do every single day, and when you repeat something so regularly, you sometimes start to forget just how significant it really is. Controlling these huge metal vehicles at high speeds on roads with hundreds of other drivers surrounding us is quite extraordinary when you stop and think about it, and it can also be quite risky too.
There are countless motor vehicle accidents every single year, caused by all kinds of things, and one of the most common issues that increase the likelihood of accidents occurring is drowsy driving or driver fatigue. Getting behind the wheel while tired leads to around 100,000 reported accidents every single year, and it’s not hard to see why.
When you drive, you need to pay attention to the road and other vehicles around you. You need to be alert, observant, and aware. If you’re lacking in concentration or focus due to feeling tired, you won’t be able to react as quickly to incidents that occur around you. This is why it’s so important to do all you can to minimize the risks of driver fatigue and avoid driving when tired at all costs.
Follow A Healthy Sleep Schedule
Figuring out who has a legal liability to crash victims can be quite a complicated affair, but if one of the drivers involved was drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel, it becomes much easier to see who was responsible. One of the simplest ways to avoid falling into this trap and minimize your risks of driver fatigue is to simply improve your sleep quality.
Experts recommend between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, and while this might be difficult to achieve depending on your schedule, health, and personal situation, you should do all you can to stick to it. A healthy diet, regular exercise, a good quality mattress, and a set bedtime routine can all help you improve your sleep quality each night.
Check Medication Labels
One common way in which people end up feeling drowsy and fatigued while sitting behind the wheel of their cars is by taking the medication without checking the list of side effects. From pain relievers to allergy meds, there are lots of common pills, tablets, and medicines that can induce a state of drowsiness.
Some medications even have warnings in the instructions that tell you not to drive after taking them, and others, despite being legal, should be taken with care due to the fact that they might lower your reaction times and increase the chances of you feeling sleepy while driving. So, if you’re gearing up for a long drive, be sure to think twice before taking any pills.
Follow A Healthy Diet
Believe it or not, the foods you eat each day can also have a massive impact on your chances of developing driver fatigue. Eating too much sugar or junk food may lead to blood sugar spikes that make you feel quite energetic at first, but much more tired later on. At the same time, skipping meals or driving on an empty stomach may tire you out, as your body won’t have sufficient energy to stay awake and alert.
The key here is to eat when you feel hungry but focus on healthy foods whenever possible, especially while driving. Snacks like granola bars and trail mix can give you enough energy to endure long drives, and crunchy foods like apples are also recommended to help keep you feeling alert and engaged. Be sure to stay hydrated too.
Drive With A Partner
This may not always be possible, but driving with someone else by your side, rather than alone, can also make a huge difference in the battle against drowsiness and fatigue. Having a partner, be it a friend, family member, or colleague, by your side gives you someone to talk to and keep you engaged.
Of course, you still need to keep your attention on the road, so shouldn’t let your passengers distract you too much, but having them around should help you feel less tired. As an added benefit, if your passenger has their license and you start to feel tired on an especially long drive, you can always pull over safely and swap roles, giving you a chance to rest for a while.
Drowsy driving claims thousands of lives each year and leads to many other accidents and injuries, so it’s really important to do all you can to avoid it. Follow these tips and look out for the signs of tiredness while on long drives to keep yourself and other road users safe.