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Articles Posted in Driver Fatigue

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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Many motorists are aware that driving whole fatigued, distracted, or inebriated can easily lead to a car crash in Hollywood or another community. However, many people seem to take these types of risks when walking or bicycling, which according to some experts has led to an increase in some types of bicycle and pedestrian accidents. Whether you are in a car, riding a bicycle, or walking, you need to be aware of:

1) Drinking. If you have had too much to drink and want to avoid a drunk driving accident in Hollywood or your community, you may think that walking home is a safer option. However, walking home after drinking can easily lead to serious injuries, falls, and even traffic accidents. You may not have the coordination to get home safely and may not have the wherewithal to check for traffic before crossing the street. If you have consumed a lot of alcohol, you may lose consciousness before you reach home or you may wander into traffic without realizing it. If you have been drinking, avoid bicycling or walking home. Instead, take a cab or go home with a trusted friend.

2) Fatigue. Fatigue is linked to about 13% of truck accidents across the country. However, fatigue can also affect your ability to walk home or bicycle safely. When you are tired, you may not have the response times and motor skills to walk or bike safely. You may miss important safety cues or may more easily trip and fall.

3) Distraction. According to researchers led by Jack Nasar at Ohio State University, cell-phone related pedestrian injuries have more than doubled in the US since 2005. Since 2010 alone, about 1500 people have been admitted to US emergency rooms because they have been struck by a car while walking and using a mobile device. In addition to mobile devices, pedestrians and bikers can easily be distracted by daydreaming, music, or other distractions. Any of these can lead to a pedestrian or bicycle accident in Hollywood or your community. Some studies have suggested that listening to music can be especially risky when bicycling or walking, since it keeps you distracted and can also keep you from noticing important audio cues around you – such as the sounds of cars.

Whenever you walk or bicycle, it is best to think like a motorist. Place your focus on getting to your destinations safely, especially if you are walking at night or along a busy road. If you would like a more relaxed biking or walking environment, consider a local gym or a park path which will protect you from cars.

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Researchers at the George Institute for Global Health have completed a study which has found that young drivers who do not get adequate sleep nightly significantly increase their chances of getting into a traffic accident. The study confirms findings about fatigued driving already known, but it is one of few studies to focus specifically on younger drivers.

Researchers in the study polled 19,327 motorists between the ages of 17 and 24 between 2003 and 2004. The study found that young motorists who self-reported getting six hours or less sleep hours nightly also had a higher rate of car accidents when compared with motorists in the same age group who slept for longer hours. The study was headed by Dr. Alexandra L.C. Martiniuk and was published in JAMA Pediatrics.

According to Dr. Martiniuk and her team, young motorists who were sleep deprived during the weekends had a higher risk of being in car collisions but also had a higher risk for single-car accidents. The hours between 8 pm and 6 am were especially dangerous for younger sleep-deprived motorists.
According to some safety experts, the study data confirms the dangers of sleep-deprived driving for younger motorists. Some authorities note that younger drivers may already be at risk for car accidents in Hollywood and other communities because they have less driving experience. When you add fatigue to that risk factor, the problem is compounded.

For younger drivers, school pressures and other age-related problems can lead to sleep deprivation and poor sleep patterns. Teen years and young adult years are often a time of stress and change, and this can lead to interruptions in sleep patterns. Unfortunately, lack of adequate sleep can easily lead to a serious or even fatal accident.

Sleep deprivation is known to be a factor in many car and truck accidents in Hollywood and across the country. When a driver is fatigued, they have poor motor skills and response times, making it harder for them to avoid collisions. In addition, fatigued drivers may fall asleep at the wheel or may enter into very short sleep cycles, which can cause them to lose control of the car.

Authorities say that both young drivers and their parents have a role to play in preventing traffic collisions in Hollywood and other communities. Teens need to be made aware of the risks of fatigued driving. If sleep disorders are an issue, a visit to a doctor can help determine whether there are any physical ailments that may be causing sleep problems. If not, better time management and stress reduction techniques may be needed to ensure that motorists get the rest they need. Young motorists also need to be aware of the symptoms of fatigued driving. These can include:

•Frequent yawning
•Eyes going out of focus or blinking often
•Eyes drifting closed
•Unfocused or wandering thoughts
•Drifting into another lane of traffic or the shoulder of the road
•Trouble focusing
•Swerving of the car or sudden slowing down
•Delayed braking
•Slumping forward in the car seat
•Not remembering the last few minutes of driving
Any of these can be signs that a driver is so tired that they are a danger on the road. In this situation, it is best to pull over. Parents and teens can sign a pledge similar to the no drunk driving pledge. Many families have agreements designed to prevent drunk driving accidents in Hollywood and other communities. These pledges allow a young driver to call family for a safe ride home, no questions asked, rather than risk driving under the influence. Families can have a similar arrangement for fatigued driving. If a young driver is too tired to drive safely, they can call home for a safe drive home, no questions asked.

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Much has been written in recent years about fatigued driving and the dangers of lack of sleep. As many people face hectic schedules, it seems that inadequate sleep is becoming the standard rather than the exception. Research has shown that the effects of not getting adequate sleep are much more profound than we have realized in the past. Not getting enough sleep actually kills. It leads to car and truck accidents in Pompano Beach and across the country each year. It reduces life expectancy and can affect everything from mood to hormones to thinking ability.

While many people know that fatigued driving can lead to car accidents in Pompano Beach or their community, there is still much confusion about what actually constitutes adequate sleep. Mostly experts say that at least eight hours of sleep a night is required for the average individual. However, individual sleep needs vary based on genetics, age, and health conditions. The general rule of thumb is that if you wake up feeling tired after a full night’s sleep, you likely have not gotten adequate sleep.

Even if you get to the proper number of hours for your body, however, keep in mind that quality of sleep matters as well. Frequent interruptions throughout the night due to a noisy environment can mean that you end up fatigued to a dangerous degree, even if you get 10 hours of sleep overall. Patients who have sleep apnea may be getting seven hours, eight hours, or more sleep at night but may wake up feeling dangerously exhausted. Each year, traffic accidents in Pompano Beach and other communities occur due to just this sleep condition. If you are feeling tired throughout the day and require naps or additional rest, you may wish to speak with a doctor to determine your sleep needs and to determine whether there are any medical conditions that could be affecting your sleep.

Inadequate sleep can lead to a number of problems and issues, including:

•Drowsiness
•Sleep latency or falling asleep
•Moodiness
•Anxiety and depression
•Difficulties with thinking or concentration
•Behavioral changes
•Problems with cognitive processes
•Poor judgment, organization, planning, problem solving, and critical thinking
•Relationship issues
•Memory problems
•Disorientation or confusion
•Poor reaction times
Many of these issues can be potentially fatal behind the wheel of a vehicle. Each year, for example, truck accidents in Pompano Beach and other communities occur because a truck driver falls asleep behind the wheel due to extreme fatigue or uses poor judgment or has poor response times due to fatigue. Federal laws are designed to help prevent this by ensuring that truck drivers rest for specific periods of time. However, these rules have not been adequate in completely eradicating fatigued driving, in part because these rules do not address the issue of insomnia or sleep apnea and in part because drivers sometimes ignore the rules in favor of meeting work deadlines.

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About 20% of Americans report feeling severe fatigue at least a few times a week. This fatigue, according to respondents polled, is serious enough to affect everyday performance. According to Jane E. Brody at the New York Times, lack of sleep can be one of the most dangerous conditions, leading to:

1) Slower metabolism. According to Brody’s research, lack of adequate sleep can result in an additional ten pounds of weight gain per year. Weight gain can lead to a number of serious ailments, including high blood pressure, cardiac disease, sleep apnea and other illnesses which can create symptoms which can cause car or truck accidents in Fort Lauderdale and other communities. Safety experts agree that safe driving requires a healthy driver, and good health is simply not possible without proper sleep.

2) A lower life expectancy. People who have poor sleep patterns and habits are more likely to suffer from serious disease and more likely to be in a serious accident, according to many research studies. Getting enough shuteye can help you leader a healthier – and longer – life.

3) Slower learning. Adequate sleep is needed for memory pathways to work correctly and for new learning to become encoded in the brain. Young drivers who do not get adequate rest may be at an additional risk, as they are still learning to drive and inadequate sleep may prevent them from learning correctly.

4) Poorer decision making. Research by Dr. Timothy Roehrs has found that sleep-deprived test subjects make more poor decisions when compared with well-rested subjects. On the road, poor decisions can easily lead to a truck or car accident in Fort Lauderdale or your community, which is yet another reason to get plenty of sleep.

5) Slower response times. Many safety experts agree that fatigued driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving in Fort Lauderdale and other communities. Drunk drivers are at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel or causing a car accident due to slow response times and poor decision-making. The same is true for fatigued drivers. Cold air and caffeine do not help – only rest can help prevent the risks of fatigued driving.

Getting enough sleep is not always easy. Hectic schedules, stress, noisy city streets, and illness can all conspire to affect quality of sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, there are several things you can do:

•Visit a doctor to see whether there is a medical reason or a possible solution for your sleep problems
•Create a peaceful bedroom and use earplugs or a sleep mask to block out lights and noise
•Arrange your schedule and delegate tasks so that you have enough time for sleep

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According to a new study led by Alexandra Martiniuk of the George Institute for Global Health, young drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 who slept six hour or less per night had a 21% increased risk of being in a car collision when compared with young drivers who had over six hours of sleep. The study was based on information collected from over 20 000 drivers.
According to the study, 86% of fatigue-related accidents involving young drivers occurred at night, between 8 pm and 6 am. Young drivers who did not catch up on sleep during the weekends fared even worse; they had a 55% of being in a single-car accident.

Experts agree with the findings, noting that fatigue slows response times and makes any driver more likely to crash. In some cases, fatigue can also cause a motorist to fall asleep while driving. Although it has not been studied extensively, some experts believe that teens and younger drivers may be even more at risk when it comes to fatigued driving. Some believe that this is due to the fact that teens and younger drivers have less experience with driving, so fatigued driving puts them more at risk of a car accident in Coral Gables and other communities.

In the US, about 20% of all car accidents are thought to be caused by fatigued driving. This means that about 8000 fatalities, 1 million car accidents, and 50 000 injuries can be attributed to fatigued drivers.
According to many experts, parents play a key role in helping young drivers avoid fatigue-related accidents and injuries. Parents can help by:

•Setting a good example by driving only when fully alert and focused.

•Setting firm rules about drinking and driving, distracted driving, and fatigued driving. Rules with consequences can help prevent a young driver from taking risks that can result in a car or truck accident in Coral Gables.

•Explaining to teens what distracted driving, fatigued driving, and drunk driving are. In some cases, teens may assume that having one drink is ok or may think that driving when tired are okay as long as they are not “too” tired.

•Helping your child with time management. According to many experts, teens and college students face long days of studies, social activities, and extracurricular activities. Juggling too many tasks at once and not managing time well can lead to sleepless nights.

•Getting help in situations where a child is overwhelmed or seems to be having trouble sleeping. Sleep disorders and other health issues can exacerbate the problem.

•Offering drives home late at night or encouraging tired drivers to take an alternate route home. These options can help prevent a traffic accident in Coral Gables or your community.

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