Everyone knows that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is incredibly dangerous and should not be done under any circumstances. However, how often have you gotten on the road early in the morning after a late night? How many times have you driven home late at night, yawning the whole way and only thinking about getting into your bed once you’re home? Drowsy driving might not seem like a big deal, but getting on the road without being properly rested can be just as dangerous as getting on the road after a few drinks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in just one year drowsy driving caused 72,000 accidents, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths.
Drowsy driving can result in slow reaction times, reduced vigilance, and impaired thinking. In the worst case, the driver may fall asleep behind the wheel. Have you considered taking preventative measures to reduce your likelihood of being involved in a drowsy driving collision? Here are some of the ways to reduce your risk of engaging in this unsafe behavior.
Get Plenty of Sleep
This one may seem obvious, but most drowsy driving incidents are the result of a driver who is not fully rested. Ensure you’ve gotten enough sleep before getting in the car. Take note of how drowsiness and fatigue affect you personally and avoid driving if you are sleep-deprived.
Having passengers on board can greatly decrease your chances of falling asleep while driving. Also, a licensed passenger may be able to take over as driver if you become sleepy behind the wheel (though, if this driver is not a part of your Hobbs New Mexico Car Insurance policy, you could be putting yourself at risk by having them operate your vehicle).
Use Rest Stops
Rest areas are commonly found along freeways and designed as safe space to park your car and, if need be, take a quick nap. Some rest stops will only allow you to remain in the area for up to an hour, but this should be adequate time for a restful nap.
Chewing gum exercises your jaw muscles, which can stimulate your senses and increase alertness. This is a good temporary energy source if you are not hungry or thirsty.
Get Some Fresh Air
Carbon dioxide can make us feel sleepy, especially in stuffy car interiors. Opening car windows or adjusting the vent controls to bring in outside air can lower carbon dioxide levels and, in turn, reduce drowsiness when behind the wheel.
Listen to Music
The solo driver’s best friend is often the radio. Rather than listening at a high volume (which can be dangerous and damage your hearing), simply listen to energetic music.
Prioritize Day-time Driving
Your circadian rhythm will keep you feeling more awake and alert during the daylight hours. Additionally, sunlight stimulates your brain and extends your reaction time while driving. Natural sunlight is also a source of Vitamin D, which can help you sleep better at night.
Check Into a Room, if All Else Fails
If you feel drowsy and there doesn’t appear to be any rest areas nearby, then check into a hotel or other roadside lodging facility. Seek an hourly room rate to catch a few hours of sleep and be back on the road relatively quickly. Trust us: the cost of a room for the night will be much cheaper than the cost of an accident!
Be Wary of Alcohol and Medication
The effects of alcohol on humans vary from person to person, and depend on factors such as weight and medical history. Even one serving of alcohol can cause drowsiness. Ideally, you should not get behind the wheel if you have recently consumed any alcoholic beverages. The legal limit is lower than you might think, and even if you swear you feel fine, you don’t want to get caught behind the wheel while legally impaired.
It’s also important for those who take medication to read the warning labels, even if they have been prescribed for a non-sleep-related condition.
About Daniels Insurance, Inc.
At Daniels Insurance, Inc., we have a unique understanding of the risks that businesses like yours face on a regular basis. With the backing of our comprehensive coverages and our dedication to customer service and quick claims resolution, your business will be fully protected. For more information, contact us today at (855) 565-7616.