Are you feeling a little more sluggish today? Were you maybe more fatigued yesterday? For some, getting used to Daylight Savings Time takes a day or two. That makes this week a perfect time to discuss fatigued driving—a key safety topic on Hollywood and South Florida streets.
Although it is difficult to determine how many collisions are caused by fatigue—few at-fault drivers admit to being sleepy or recklessly driving when dangerously tired—the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that 100,000 or more crashes each year may be caused by tired drivers.
Preventing Fatigued Driving
Many car accidents in Hollywood and South Florida could potentially be prevented if drivers took a few steps to prevent drowsy driving. Here are a few things you can do to stay awake—and safer—on the roads:
- Get adequate sleep every night. Many adults need 7-9 hours. Adjust your sleep schedule until you feel rested.
- If you feel tired during the day and are getting plenty of sleep, talk to your doctor. You could have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.
- Check your medications. Make sure none of them cause drowsiness. Always avoid drinking and driving. Even if one drink doesn’t put you over the legal limit, it could make you drowsy.
- Make sure your sleep environment promotes good sleep hygiene. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet during sleep hours; invest in earplugs and blackout curtains if you have to. Temperatures in your bedroom should be comfortable and invest in a good mattress to get a good night’s sleep.
- If you’re going on a longer trip, plan ahead. Schedule regular rest breaks so you don’t get tired or consider driving with someone who can drive part of the time so you can rest.
Recognizing Fatigued Driving and Acting to Prevent a Crash
One reason fatigued driving so often leads to car accidents is because it can creep up on us. Many people get so used to working hard and feeling tired to some degree that they brush off symptoms of tiredness. We assume it’s “normal” to feel tired and we don’t always consider how that fatigue can impact our driving and our safety.
There are a few signs, however, that your fatigue is serious enough to be a risk:
- You keep yawning and blinking your eyes
- You can’t remember the last few minutes or seconds of your drive
- You feel yourself drifting off as you drive
- You find yourself drifting into other lanes or onto rumble strips
If you notice any of these signs, you are not safe to keep driving. Pull over and take a rest and drink some caffeine. If fatigue persists, get some sleep before continuing to drive.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a fatigued driver, you need legal advice. In many cases, fault can be challenging to prove since there are no tests for fatigue. If you think tiredness played a factor in your collision of if you think negligence in any form played a role in your accident, contact Flaxman Law Group. We’ll set up a free consultation for you so we can explain whether you have a claim.