Steps Drivers Can Take to Prevent Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue is a real problem in Texas. AAA research has shown that drowsy drivers cause more than 328,000 accidents each year. 109,000, or about 1/3, result in personal injuries, and 6,400 result in a fatality. Drowsy driving is deadly driving and more than quadruples an individual's risk of an accident. These statistics highlight the need for drivers to wake up to the risks and take active steps to protect themselves.
Avoid Late Night & Early Morning Trips
Most drowsy driving accidents happen in the wee hours of the morning or the late hours of the night. A significant number also occur between 5-6 pm when workers are heading home from work. Avoiding driving during these periods can lower your risk.
Treat Sleep Apnea
Sleep disorders are a common cause of drowsy driving accidents. If you have trouble getting a full rest at night, seek medical help. There are medicines, surgeries, and equipment that can help ease the tossing and turning so that you wake up well-rested.
Don't Rely on Caffeine
Caffeine only provides a short burst of energy. It works by blocking adenosine in the brain. However, when it wears off the adenosine rushes through the brain's receptors which can result in sudden, extreme tiredness. This means that it might catch you unawares as you drive, putting you and your fellow motorists at risk during the evening commute.
Pull Over and Sleep
Most car accidents take place within 25 miles of home. When you are tired, it can be tempting to push yourself that extra mile to get to the front door. It is a potentially deadly mistake that you shouldn't make. If you are on the road, even if you are near home, pull over and take a break until you are rested enough to complete the journey.
Recognize the Signs
If you are yawning, can't keep your eyes open, start to "nod off," and have difficulty remembering the past few miles, it is a good indication you are suffering from driver fatigue.
Watch Out for Other Drivers
Drivers should always watch for signs of driver fatigue in nearby motorists. Erratic driving behaviors including veering out of the lane of travel, sudden acceleration/deceleration, and bowed heads are clear indications that a driver should be given a wide berth and reported to law enforcement.
For more about the hazards of driver fatigue, contact Welmaker Law Firm at (800) 494-1916. We're happy to help you stay safe and awake behind the wheel.