Stay Awake, Stay Alert, Stay Alive: Tips for Safe Driving

Not many Americans actually get the recommended hours of sleep each night. As a result, most drivers on the road are sleep deprived, drowsy, and ready to take a nap. In fact, 60% of adult drivers have confessed to driving while drowsy at some point this past year—and an astonishing 33% have actually fallen asleep at the wheel.

Driving drowsy is very dangerous. Just like alcohol and drugs, lack of sleep results in slower reaction time, decreased awareness, and impaired judgment. Vital information on the road can be missed—such as a motorcyclist in the next lane, a child ready to dart out into traffic, or a traffic light that has turned red. This leads to catastrophic and often fatal accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that at least 100,000 crashes each year are caused by driver fatigue. This results in 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and nearly $12.5 billion in economic losses around the United States. Even more shocking is that the number of injuries and deaths from drowsy drivers may actually be higher. Many traffic accidents are not recognized as the results of drowsy driving, due to lack of evidence, especially fatal crashes.

Who Is At Risk?

According to the National Sleep Foundation, shift workers, young teen drivers, and adults with young children are especially prone to being involved in drowsy driving crashes. In addition, commercial truckers, people with undiagnosed sleep disorders, and individuals taking certain types of medication are also at a higher risk.

Even if you are not at a high risk for being involved in a crash due to sleep deprivation, the type of road you are driving on may contribute. In general, drivers are more prone to falling asleep when they drive on long, boring freeways or on rural highways with inadequate lighting.

Stay Awake, Stay Alert, Stay Alive

The AAA recommends the following tips to help you stay alert behind the wheel of a vehicle. All drivers are urged to follow these guidelines at all times, in order to stay awake, stay alert, and stay alive!

The AAA recommends the following tips to help you stay alert behind the wheel of a vehicle. All drivers are urged to follow these guidelines at all times, in order to stay awake, stay alert, and stay alive!

  • Always aim for getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  • If you are going on a long car trip, consider getting more sleep the night before.
  • Take a break and stop every 100 miles to stretch your legs and perk up.
  • If you become sleepy while driving, it is important to recognize the signs of sleepiness and stop immediately.
  • Do not ever work all day and plan to drive all night. This is a recipe for disaster.
  • Avoid driving after midnight when the body’s natural melatonin production increases and makes it more difficult to stay awake and alert.
  • If possible, bring a friend along for the ride. Driving with a passenger can help you stay awake during long car trips.
  • Drink caffeinated beverages to help you stay awake if you are drowsy. If possible also find a safe place to catch a nap until the caffeine kicks in. Remember, however, that caffeine is not a replacement for getting the right amount of sleep.

Injured By a Drowsy Driver? You Have Rights!

If you or someone you love was injured by a drowsy driver in Fort Lauderdale, it is important to speak to an experienced car accident attorney at Kelley/Uustal. We can help you seek justice and fair compensation for your injuries. 

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