What steps should drivers take to monitor themselves and protect themselves from harm? Millions of motorists will head to the roads over the holiday season. Many will drive while they are drowsy. Learning how to monitor your health and watch for signs of drowsy drivers on the road are the keys to getting everyone over the river and through the woods to grandma's house in one piece.
The Realities of Driver Fatigue in America
Approximately 1 in every 25 drivers has driven while drowsy in the past month. Nationwide, the NHTSA estimates that drowsy driving was a factor in 72,000 automobile accidents that caused 44,000 injuries and 800 fatalities in 2013. It's a genuine problem. The CDC added to this data by stating the real figures are most likely underestimated and that the actual fatality figure in 2013 was closer to 6,000.
Tips to Prevent Driver Fatigue
- Take Regular Breaks. You should plan to stop and stretch every two hours. Ideally, you will want to spend at least 15 minutes walking around, eating, using the restroom, etc. You can also use this time to take a power nap.
- Limit Your Driving. You should not drive more than eight to ten hours per day. Avoid the temptation to drive longer than this as your focus and attention span will drop sharply the longer you drive.
- Get a Full Night's Sleep. Whether you need six hours or eight, don't start your trip before you have had a restful sleep.
- Don't Depend on Caffeine. Caffeine provides a short-term energy boost that lasts four to six hours. After this point, your energy levels will experience a sharp decline as it wears off.
- Share the Driving When Possible. Allow your spouse, partner, or experienced teenage driver to take the wheel for a while.
Watching Out for Other Drivers
You can't control the actions of other drivers, but you can avoid the consequences of drowsy driving accidents by watching the roads for signs of driver fatigue. Many of these mimic other dangerous driving habits, including aggressive driving or drunk driving. The signs of driver fatigue include:
- Veering out of the lane of travel
- Difficulty maintaining a consistent speed
- Drivers whose heads are drooping down
- Drivers who are yawning, rubbing their eyes, or daydreaming
- Drivers who are exhibiting aggressive, impatient behaviors such as frequent lane changes, gesturing, etc.
- Failure to signal lane changes
- Vehicles traveling too fast, or too slow for conditions
Call in the Bull to speak with a drowsy driving accident lawyer about your accident. Our team can help you pursue claims stemming from driver fatigue in Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. You can call us at 1-800-241-BRAD, or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400 to speak with an attorney. You can reach Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL.