How to Avoid Driving Fatigue Accidents
As more travelers take to the road, it is important to be mindful of potential driving hazards resulting from traffic congestion, urgency due to the holidays, and fatigue from driving long hours or late at night. Driving fatigue, which can be as bad as driving under the influence, is the cited cause for as many as 100,000 crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities each year. Keeping yourself and others safe while on the road is of the utmost importance. Follow these steps to avoid driving while drowsy and causing an accident:
Get Enough Rest Before Long Drives
There’s nothing worse than pulling an all-nighter right before a long road trip. Even if you only have a few days of vacation planned, you should avoid driving without a full 7 to 9 hours of rest the night before. Driving without enough rest can negatively impact your focus, reflexes, and decision-making, putting yourself and others at greater risk of a car crash.
Keep Yourself Stimulated in the Car
Even with a full night of rest before your road trip, driving for long periods of time can cause you to become bored or tired so it’s important to keep yourself alert the entire time you are driving. If you have a co-pilot riding shotgun, keep a conversation going or play a game of I Spy to keep yourself engaged. If you are driving solo, listening to engaging music or a stimulating podcast can be an excellent way to stay alert while driving.
Take Frequent Breaks and Stretch Often
Want to break up the monotony of long drives to avoid driving fatigue? Break up your ride with frequent rest stops! When driving long distances, be sure to rest for 15 minutes for every 2 hours of driving. Frequent breaks can give you an opportunity to use the restroom, stretch, and ultimately add variety to your drive.
Avoid Heavy Meals and Never Drink and Drive
Are you familiar with the term postprandial somnolence? You probably know this experience as a food-coma, and it is very much a reason for driving fatigue around the holidays. Food-comas are your body’s natural response to mass in the gastrointestinal tract and cause you to experience sleepiness while your body works to digest your meal. Avoid eating heavy meals before driving for extended periods of time to prevent yourself from feeling that post-meal lull that can cause you to become less attentive.