Articles Posted in Driver Fatigue

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Fatigued driving in Miami Beach and other South Florida communities is all too often the cause of serious accidents and collisions. Fatigued drivers can lose control of their vehicles and may even drift off behind the wheel. They can make poor judgements and have such poor motor control that their driving ability may be on par with that of drivers under the influence.

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Unfortunately, many of us have busy lives and end up tired at least part of the time. So how can we avoid car crashes? Luckily, there are ways to ensure you stay alert on the road:

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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.

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Every year, tens of thousands of Americans lose their lives in roadway accidents and tens of thousands of Hollywood and Florida drivers are injured in the state. While you might not be able to do much about the driving habits of those around you, there are things you can do to make 2016 the safest year ever for you as a driver.

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Building new habits and setting new intentions for your driving can make you a stronger driver and can reduce your risk of an accident. Here are ten habits that can make you more confident and safer on the road:

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Clocks have been turned back within the past week, but does that mean you’re more at risk of a car accident caused by fatigued driving? The reality is that switching clocks back even one hour can wreak havoc with your internal clock, cause insomnia, and can increase the likelihood of some types of accidents.

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One problem is that internal clocks are not as easy to adjust as the clock on your mobile devices. Even though you may feel like you have adjusted well, you may be more fatigued than usual. You may especially be more fatigued in the mornings and in the evenings, since it gets darker sooner. If you do feel affected by the time change, consider giving yourself extra time to get work or leave the driving to someone else if you feel too fatigued to operate your car safely.

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If you are planning a road trip sometime this year, your phone can help you to stay safe on the road. While distracted driving in Tamarac and other communities is a serious concern and why you will never want to use your mobile device while driving, there is no doubt that phones can make long car trips easier and more fun.

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If you are traveling by car, there are several things you can do with your phone to make the process easier:

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The last two months of the year have two major holidays. For many families, this is not only an exhilarating time of year, but also a very stressful season simply because there is so much to do. Unfortunately, stress can be a major contributor to traffic accidents in Hollywood and other communities for a number of reasons:

1) Stress can lead to fatigue.

Experts agree that fatigued driving in Hollywood and all communities can lead to collisions. In fact, research has shown that tired drivers have some of the same slowed response times as drunk drivers and make some of the same mistakes behind the wheel. In some cases, drivers get so fatigued that they fall asleep while driving, causing their car to veer off the road.

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Recent studies have shown that one of the most dangerous obstacles to overcome when driving doesn’t have to do with other drivers, poor road design in Hollywood or your community, or the many other things that we tend to associate with road safety problems. Instead, our minds – and specifically, daydreaming – contribute to a large number of car accidents. In fact, studies suggest that daydreams contribute to more collisions than cell phones.

If you want to stay safe on the roads and avoid traffic collisions in Hollywood or your community, you will want to do a quick mental check before you hop in the car. The simple precaution could save your life. A mental check means:

1) Checking for fatigue.

If you are fatigued to the point where your mind feels almost buzzed, you are not safe to drive. Fatigue affects a lot more than just your response times. It can also affect your ability to process information correctly and to make it hard for you to focus. It can also leave you more likely to daydream. If you are tired, take another method of transportation home. Fatigued driving in Hollywood and other communities already causes far too many collisions each year.

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Your morning commute is filled with unseen dangers. The distracted driver next to you worrying about a morning meeting or your own fatigue combined with heavy traffic can all conspire to cause a serious traffic collision in Hollywood or your community. To stay safe on the roads as you head to work, try these tips for a safer drive:

1) Use public transport. Public transportation accidents in Hollywood and other Florida communities are far rarer than car collisions. Even switching to public transport part of the time can reduce your chances of an accident by giving you a break from a harrowing commute.

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2) Car pool. Just as with public transport, having someone else take care of the driving some of the time gives you a break and lets you rest. It is also better for the environment.

3) Take care of your health. If you’re dragging yourself to your car every morning because you’re tired, you’re putting yourself (and everyone else sharing the road with you) at risk. Fatigued driving in Hollywood and other cities is a leading cause of trucking and car crashes. If you feel unwell or tired, don’t drive to work. Take public transport or choose another option, and visit a doctor to make sure there isn’t a health concern that needs treatment.

4) Take care of your time with proper time management. Being overwhelmed and exhausted makes you an ineffective worker and a dangerous driver. Cross off some things from your to-do list and delegate others so that you can get everything done in a reasonable time frame and not end up so distracted that you cause a collision.

5) Drive defensively and focus only on driving. Put away anything that may distract you. Your morning commute is not the time to go over the notes for the big meeting or the time to review your to-do list for the day. Focusing on the road and on your driving is especially important during the morning and evening rush hours, due to the traffic.

6) Vary your route. It may be harder for your mind to wander if your morning commute varies slightly. You don’t want to get so comfortable on your morning drive that you don’t notice what’s going on around you.

7) Exercise before you drive. A few stretches or some low-impact exercise can wake you up and can make it easier for you to focus on driving.

8 ) Do your homework. Your morning commute can be a lot less stressful if you prepare ahead of time. The night before, pack up anything you need for work as well as anything your children need for school. Consider making breakfast ahead so that you can grab a quick but healthy morning meal without needing a lot of time. In the morning, check the weather forecasts and traffic reports quickly to make sure that there are no surprises on the roads.

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Your morning commute could put you at risk of a car collision in Homestead or your city. Each morning, T-bone accidents, broadside collisions, and rear-end crashes occur in Homestead and across South Florida as people hurry to get into work. Studies show that besides weekends, mornings and evenings have higher instances of crashes, and some studies suggest that your morning commute could put you at risk of a crash.

There are many things that contribute to car accidents during the morning commute:

1) Traffic. When everyone in rushing to get to work for business hours, there is a usually more traffic. In turn, the risk of accidents increases, as does the risk of chain reaction crashes because there are more cars on the roads. When traffic increases, some motorists are also more likely to lose their tempers, which can lead to crashes.

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2) The morning school run. Parents dropping off children at schools increases traffic around area high schools and elementary schools and can increase the risk of a pedestrian accident or other traffic collision. Parents can reduce the risk of this type of accident by using school drop-off zones to reduce traffic and to keep children safe.

3) Distracted driving. Mornings can be hectic and many drivers may be thinking about the day ahead and all that needs to be done rather than about driving. Some drivers get to work after their morning routine that they don’t remember the drive in. Driving defensively and making an effort to focus on driving can help prevent distracted driving. Delegating tasks and practicing better time management can also be a big help. Some motorists find it useful to vary their morning commute so that they do not drive on “auto pilot” each morning.

4) Fatigued driving. Many drivers feel exhausted by the workweek or not fully awake by the time they hop in their cars. Fatigued driving is a major risk factor for early morning accidents. Getting a proper night of rest is the best way to prevent this hazard. If you frequently find yourself fatigued, it is important to get medical help, since sleep disorders or other conditions could be resulting in fatigue and a greater risk of car accidents. The most important way to prevent fatigued driving in Homestead and other communities, though, is to change attitudes. Drivers need to take fatigued driving as seriously as drunk driving, since researchers have shown that fatigue affects response times and judgment similarly to alcohol. If you are tired, take an alternative form of transportation to work and skip the morning commute. Do not get behind the wheel of the car if you are too tired or too distracted to focus properly.

There are other things that you can do to prevent a serious morning traffic accident in Homestead or your community. For example, you could try carpooling, which allows you to sit back some of the time and let someone else drive. You can also take public transportation to and from work at least part of the time, if it is possible. Not only is it more eco-friendly, but it is far less risky. There are far fewer train and bus accidents in Homestead than there are car collisions.

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On the surface, being a little tired may not seem like a very big problem. Many drivers who feel tired after a long day at work or a bad night’s sleep simply stock up on coffee or energy drinks and go about their day. As many safety experts note, however, this attitude is extremely dangerous and may be leading to many car accidents in Homestead and across the country.

There are many reasons why fatigued driving may be just as dangerous as drunk driving in Homestead and other communities:

•A driver who falls asleep at the wheel has no control of the vehicle, which is not only likely to cause an accident, but in many cases the accident will be a serious one since the driver is asleep and cannot take steps to reduce or avoid the impact.
•Fatigue reduces reaction time, which can result in an accident.
•Drivers who are tired may fall asleep in tiny increments known as micro-sleeps. The driver may not even be aware that they have fallen asleep, but they are still at a greater risk of a crash.
•Sleepiness reduces concentration, alertness, and compensation, which can increase the risk of a collision.
•Sleepiness can affect motor skills, decision-making skills, and information processing, all of which can put a fatigued driver at a greater risk of an accident.

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Many drivers simply ignore signs of fatigue. In some cases, they ignore the risks even though they know the dangers of fatigued driving. In other cases, drivers may dismiss sleepiness as a type of normal experience and go about everyday activities without fully understanding the dangers.

The truth is, fatigued driving in Homestead and Florida is a decision, and unfortunately it is a decision that costs many lives each year. Fortunately, there are many things that motorists can do to prevent accidents caused by fatigued driving:

1) Be aware of the risks. Knowing the risks of sleepiness behind the wheel is only the first step. Drivers also need to be aware of when they are most likely to be sleepy and in a fatigue-related crash:

•When doing shift work
•Between 2 am and 6 pm
•On long drives, especially if those drives are along monotonous freeways and highways
•Between 2 pm and 4 pm
•After a big meal
•After drinking alcohol
•When ill or taking certain types of medication
•After a long or difficult day at work
If you find yourself driving in any of these situations, you may want to assess your fitness to drive before getting in your vehicle.

2) Check for sleep disorders and other health reasons that may cause you to feel fatigued. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea may increase a person’s risk of an accident because they cause difficulties sleeping and may cause extreme fatigue during the day. These conditions can also be difficult to diagnose. If you find yourself getting tired easily or needing a nap during the day, speak to your physician to see whether there is a health problem.

3) Plan longer drives and at-risk drives carefully. If you do need to drive after shift work or need to take a long drive, for example, plan ahead. Consider getting a cup of coffee and getting a nap before you drive and break up longer trips with 15 minute breaks. If you do find yourself getting sleepy, pull over and stop in a safe place. Call for a ride or wait until you feel less tired before continuing on. If you are on a long drive, the best option is to stop at a motel or hotel overnight to catch up on sleep.

4) Avoid any substances that can contribute to sleepiness. Even small amounts of alcohol can make you more fatigued, so a drink when you are tired may put you at risk of an accident even if you are well below the blood alcohol limit. In addition, many over the counter and prescription medications can cause drowsiness. Always speak to your pharmacist about any new medication.

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